Does my homeowner’s insurance policy cover wind-driven rain? What does this mean?
By Cathryn J. Schexnaider, Attorney
When wind forces rain through an opening in your home causing water damage to your interior, you have experienced damage from wind-driven rain. Your homeowner’s insurance policy may or may not cover this type of damage, depending on the policy you have. Typically, Texas policies will cover damage as a result of windstorm, hurricane, and hail. However, some policies may exclude this type of damage completely.
If my policy does include coverage for damage caused by windstorm, does this mean I am also covered for wind-driven rain?
The frustrating answer for most homeowners is that it depends. Ultimately, what you are specifically covered for depends on the specific language in your policy. While you may be covered by damage caused by a windstorm, you may not be covered for damage as a result of wind-driven rain entering your home unless the windstorm has created an opening in your home from which the rain has entered and damaged your property. If the policy specifically states that it covers damage as a result of windstorm, sometimes there will be language qualifying what this category includes or excludes. Some policies may state that this damage includes wind-driven rain, whether or not an opening has been created, while others may state that damage caused by rain or wind will only be covered if an opening is created by the storm event.
Typically, the term “opening” is not defined by your policy and may be subject to interpretation. While the term “opening” may refer to a tree falling on your roof and causing a hole to allow water to seep in, the term “opening” could also refer to much smaller openings in your roof, walls, or windows that you may not immediately see. No matter the size, if the direct force of the storm event causes an opening in your home that allows water to enter and damage your property, this should qualify as an opening under a policy with this type of limitation.
In order to determine what types of damage your policy covers, you need a copy of your full policy. Once you have your policy, there should be a section that details the causes of loss your policy covers and is typically titled Perils Insured Against or some variation of this. There may be a numbered list that specifically lists out what types of damage are covered or not covered. After the section in your policy listing the perils your policy insures, there will most likely be a section that goes into detail about exclusions to your policy. You should review both sections in order to fully understand your policy. Sometimes additions to your policy, otherwise known as endorsements, are included at the beginning or end of your policy that may change what is covered as well and should also be carefully reviewed.
Bottom line: You need to obtain a copy of your policy to know exactly what it covers. Your policy may or may not cover damages as a result of windstorms or wind-driven rain, but you must read your specific policy language to know for sure.