After a wet and productive winter, thanks to the recurring weather pattern known as El Niño, meteorologists and climate scientists are predicting a year dominated by La Niña, in which weather extremes may increase, including droughts in the west and more hurricane and tropical storm activity in the southeastern U.S. For homeowners in affected areas, that could spell trouble.
Floods, earthquakes, tornados, fires, hurricanes, and other disasters (both man-made and natural) cause millions in damages each year. But what should the average homeowner concern themselves with the most? Insurance company Travelers and Realtor.com have compiled the top 5 most common U.S. home insurance claims, and it serves as a good reminder for current and prospective homeowners considering that Travelers executives warn that most people are not prepared for even the most common threat to their home.
Wind-related damage (exterior)
This is everything from a tornado ripping roofs off and hurling rocks and debris through windows to a garden-variety spring storm dropping a broken tree branch on the house. Despite 25% of claims being related to wind damage, Scott Humphrey, second vice president of risk control at Travelers warns that “People don’t think about the wind that much.”
Non-weather-related water damage
Leaky pipes, water heaters, dishwashers, and other appliances cause 19% of claims.
Perhaps not one people commonly think of, yet accounts for 15% of claims.
Weather-related water damage
11% of all claims; very difficult to defend against flooding, particularly considering the home’s location.
This is one that Traveler’s notes that people spend the most time preparing and defending against, yet accounts for just 6% of claims, perhaps because of (or in spite of) the preparation.
Insure.com’s Penny Gusner notes that while most policies cover wind damage, it is worth checking to see if your policy excludes such claims, particularly if you live in a hurricane-prone region. And even if you are covered, check on your hurricane deductible, which might be much higher than the normal deductible. Click here to read more.