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Karl Newman, President
Darrin Sanger, Communications Director
NW Insurance Council
Phone: (206) 624-3330
Fax: (206) 624-1975

Thunderstorm: are you insured?

PORTLAND - Yesterday's thunderstorms slammed Western Oregon with strong winds, lightning, hail and rain and left a trail of damaged homes, businesses and vehicles. Nearly 50,000 residents were without power for most of the night. Fortunately, Homeowners and business owners insurance policies cover damage from thunderstorms.

"With the recent spate of bad weather, homeowners, renters, vehicle owners and business owners who are insured can be confident that their insurance companies are here to help them get back on their feet," said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president.

Homeowners Insurance and Business Insurance policies cover damage to the structure of your home or business and your belongings caused by wind, falling trees, lightning and hail.

If you have Renters Insurance, only damage to your personal possessions is covered. Damage to vehicles caused by falling trees or other wind-driven objects is covered if you have optional Comprehensive Coverage on your Auto Policy.

NW Insurance Council offers the following coverage facts for damage caused by yesterday's thunderstorms:

What's typically covered:
Your Home

  • Damage to your home from wind, falling trees, lightning and hail. Your policy protects you regardless of whether trees fall from your property or a neighbor's property.
  • Removal of trees that have fallen on buildings.
  • Damaged personal property (both home and renters) inside a damaged building.
  • If you can't occupy your primary residence due to storm damage, additional living expenses such as increased housing costs, extra food costs and furniture rental.
  • Costs for reasonable temporary repairs to prevent further damage to the building or contents.

Your Vehicle

  • Damage caused by wind and falling trees, flooding and fire caused by lightning - if you purchased optional Comprehensive Coverage.

What's typically not covered:
Your Home

  • Removal of trees that have fallen in your yard without damaging a building.
  • Upgrades that weren't part of your home before the storm.
  • Damage to the interior or exterior of your home or business caused by surface water from an outside source is not covered.

Your Vehicle

  • Damage to your vehicle if you don't have Comprehensive Coverage.

What to do if your home or vehicle has been damaged:

  • Document damage and take pictures.
  • If safe to do so, make temporary repairs to prevent further loss from rain or wind. Save receipts for reimbursement.
  • If your home or property is damaged by a windstorm, contact your insurance agent or company to file a claim immediately. Filing a claim quickly enables your insurance company to get to you sooner.
  • Use only licensed, reputable building contractors and be sure they get the proper building permits.

What to avoid if your home or vehicle has been damaged:

  • Avoid contractors who ask for a large deposit up front or bids that are remarkably low. This may indicate a willingness to cut corners or leave work unfinished.
  • Don't pay a lot for temporary repairs unless authorized by your insurance adjuster. You could get stuck with the bill if the repairs are deemed excessive.
  • Don't discard anything that is damaged until it has been examined by your adjuster. You could miss out on coverage for that item.

For more information, call (800) 664-4942 or visit

NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, consumer education organization funded by member insurance companies serving Oregon, Washington and Idaho.