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12/05/2014

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 

Wind Damage

It is difficult for the average person to realize how much force is created by wind. One only has to consider that wind caught in 3000 square feet of canvas was used to push 110 ton (220,000 pounds) ships at the speed of 16 knots (18 miles per hour).  If high wind can push a ship that fast, it can "rock" a home enough to open up almost every caulk joint on the outside of a home. 

Wind damage can be controversial.  Prior to making a claim, there are several things a homeowner should be aware of:

Primarily: Wind damage is hard to prove and is often denied coverage.  Therefore, it is obviously critical for property owners to inspect their property after severe events.  Severe winds may affect siding and roof materials resulting in damages that may not present themselves until much later.  If rain, snow or hail does not accompany the winds, the property owner may not be aware of the damage to the building envelope.  

If moisture does accompany the wind damage, the most common outward sign is water invasion in the form of water stains on ceilings and walls. A home owner may find stains on his ceiling but no missing shingles, or multiple water stains with a corresponding missing shingle or two, but more stains elsewhere where there are no missing shingles. A water stain or two on the ceiling can be a sign of "the tip of the iceberg". Additionally, where there are two stains on the ceiling, there can be many times that number in the attic. One may ask, "Why should I care how many stains there are in the attic?" The answer is simple,mold. The attic is made up of cellulose products (wood and sheet rock). All of which are food for mold. Add water leaks from blowing rain and you have an environment for fungal growth. Allow this to go on for long enough and it will almost always permeate the interior of the home via "air wash" for rising barometric pressures from periodic high fronts.  

Most insurance carriers and agents recommend that if the owner is considering filing a claim, the owner should carefully take a look at it, and consider how much damage has occurred.  Consumers should also consider that making a claim could raise insurance rates in the future and may not surpass the policy deductible.  Unlike earthquake damage, wind damage is covered by most homeowners' insurance policies. Homeowners should also be aware that comprehensive auto insurance also covers damage from wind or fallen trees.

If you recently experienced a severe weather event or have sudden visible water stains on ceilings or walls but are unsure why, you may want a second opinion as to the cause and origin of the problem.