Wind damage is all too common in the United States.
According to data from the Insurance Information Institute, one out of every 35 people in the US makes an insurance claim every year due to wind (or hail) damage. And that doesn’t include everyone who suffers wind damage but ignores it or pays out of pocket.
We might typically associate wind damage with extreme weather events such as hurricanes – something Florida residents know all too well. But the reality is that even “normal” weather events like strong thunderstorms often cause damaging winds.
With so much potential for violent wind, Florida homeowners need to know:
- How wind can damage homes,
- What to watch for after a windy storm,
- How to protect homes from wind damage,
- Insurance options to prevent and mitigate property damage due to high winds.
How can wind damage my home?
Wind can damage your roof, shingles, siding, and windows through the force of gusts and damage from flying objects.
Damaging winds classify as winds that exceed 50-60 mph. These hard-charging winds account for approximately 50% of wind damage in the continental United States, sometimes reaching speeds of 100 mph. And of course, hurricanes create conditions that are even worse. In 2022, for example, Hurricane Ian featured 150 mph winds – tied for fourth highest in state history.
According to the National Weather Service, small branches can break from trees and strike homes from winds as low as 39 mph. The risks of damage only go up from there. 47 mph winds can blow off roofing tiles and chimney covers, 55 mph winds can cause havoc on roofs, and 64 mph winds can uproot large trees.
Roof and siding damage exposes your home’s interior to the elements and can lead to leaks and drafts. These, in turn, can spiral into more significant issues if not found and addressed quickly.
What are the signs of wind damage?
Signs of wind damage include loose or dislodged roof materials, leaks, raised siding, and chimney tilting.
Roofs, corners, and edges are more likely to sustain damage from winds. Check corners that seem raised or sticking up. Shingles that are loose, curled, peeling, or missing should be found and replaced quickly.
Leaks could also indicate damage to your roof, as dislodged shingles create openings for water to enter. Always watch for peeling paint, discoloration, and other signs of leaks.
Wind can also blow granules (what gives shingles their sandpaper texture), soffit, or fascia. Each of these elements helps reinforce and protect your roof from water and other unwelcome intruders. Watch for accumulations in your gutters.
Cracks, dents, or chips in your siding are always a risk after storms and could result from hail or excess wind.
Finally, if your chimney is crooked or looks different than it used to, this could also be a sign of wind damage.
How can I prevent wind damage to my property?
Florida homeowners can prevent wind damage to their property by prepping their yards before storms, keeping up with landscaping, monitoring roofs and siding for early signs of damage, and fixing damage quickly.
Don’t let outdoor items turn into airborne missiles.
Before a storm or high wind advisory, put outdoor furniture, toys, décor, and even garbage cans in storage – anything that might be at risk of blowing away. Tie down any heavier items and ensure structures like sheds and fences are well anchored. If you’re not sure you’ve sufficiently prepared, ask yourself, “could anything in my yard break a window if picked up by the wind?”
Keep up with good landscaping.
Keep trees and bushes trimmed, clean up debris, and monitor trees for signs of weakening. Pay extra attention to branches. Even if a tree is healthy, all it takes is one weakened branch and strong gust of wind to cause problems for your home.
Seal cracks and gaps.
Find and fill openings around doors, windows, and pipes. Replacing cracked or missing caulking is simple, inexpensive, and essential for keeping wind from coming inside.
Maintain good exterior maintenance.
When shingles are already damaged, it is much easier for wind to tear off bigger sections of roof exteriors. But by finding and taking care of these relatively small issues quickly, homeowners prevent much more significant wind damage from occurring.
A proactive homeowner who takes advantage of complimentary roof inspections, for example, might discover loose or missing shingles they would never have noticed otherwise.
That’s why Liberty Remodeling & Restoration offers no-obligation inspections of your roof, siding, and exterior. The best way to maintain your home and prevent wind damage is to find and address issues early, while they are easier (and less expensive) to fix!
Does homeowners insurance cover wind damage to my house?
From 2016-2020, homeowners filed more insurance claims over wind and hail damage than over any other type of damage.
Every homeowners insurance policy is different. It’s critical to read and understand the specific details of your particular policy. In general, however, most insurance offers at least some coverage for replacements and repairs as a result of wind damage.
Damage to roofs, siding, and windows, for example, is typically covered under the dwelling portion of insurance policies. Damaged belongings may be covered under personal property coverage. Even fences or sheds may be covered under “other property” coverages.
In all of these cases, it’s important to know whether your policy covers replacement value (how much it costs to replace the property) or only actual value (how much the property was worth at the time it was damaged, including depreciation).
Also, keep in mind that your deductibles, limitations, and exclusions will apply.
Are you a homeowner in the Cape Coral – Fort Myers metro area?
We are glad to offer a 15-point inspection of your home and provide a quote for any recommended repairs – no obligations, no strings attached. If your area has recently seen high winds (or if you’re just looking for peace of mind as a responsible homeowner), reach out today.