Does Home Insurance Cover Natural Disasters?
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When a natural disaster strikes, you can end up with a lot of damage to your home and a lot of stress. Homeowners insurance helps protect you financially if a natural disaster causes damage to your home or belongings. Not to mention, it can give you a whole lot of peace of mind.
But standard homeowners insurance excludes some types of natural disasters, like earthquakes or floods.
Here’s what you need to know about the natural disasters homeowners insurance covers:
Does home insurance cover natural disasters?
Yes, homeowners insurance policies cover many potential natural disasters, like winter storms and tornadoes. However, homeowners insurance doesn’t cover all natural disasters. For example, policies typically exclude floods. You should carefully review your homeowners insurance policy to understand exactly what it covers.
Credible makes it easy to compare homeowners insurance quotes from top carriers.
Which disasters does home insurance cover?
These are the 16 perils typically covered by homeowners insurance:
- Fire or lightning
- Windstorm or hail
- Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
- Falling objects
- Accidental discharge of water or steam (plumbing, air conditioning, or appliances)
- Freezing of household systems
- Damage from a power surge
- Accidental bulging, burning, cracking, and tearing
- Damage from vehicles
- Damage from aircraft
- Volcanic eruption
Learn More: How Much Homeowners Insurance Do I Need?
Which disasters aren’t covered by home insurance?
Home insurance policies generally exclude the following natural disasters:.
- Floods: Flood damage can lead to some very pricey repairs, but unfortunately it’s usually not covered by standard homeowners insurance policies. You can purchase separate flood insurance coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and from select private insurance carriers. If you live in a high-risk area and have a government-backed mortgage, your lender will require you to have flood insurance.
- Earthquakes: Earthquake coverage is typically available to purchase from your homeowners insurance provider as a separate policy or as an insurance rider (add-on) to your main homeowners insurance policy. If you have homeowners insurance in California, your insurer must offer to sell you earthquake insurance every other year.
Named-perils coverage vs. open-perils coverage
It’s always wise to have enough homeowners insurance to completely replace your home if necessary. But it’s important to note that not all policy forms cover the same natural disasters.
Let’s take a closer look at which types of natural disasters are typically considered named perils (covered events if they’re listed in your insurance policy) and which are considered open perils (all perils are covered unless any are specifically excluded).
|Common Named Perils||Common Exclusions to Open Perils|
In addition, homeowners insurance comes in eight different policy forms, each with varying rules on named and open perils:
|Policy form||Property type||What it covers||Best for|
|HO-1 (basic)||House||Limited named perils for structure and contents||Bare-bones coverage, where available|
|HO-2 (broad)||House||Greater number of named perils for structure and contents||More coverage than HO-1 but less than HO-3|
|HO-3 (special)||House||Open perils for structure, named perils for contents||Most homeowners|
|HO-4 (contents broad)||Rental unit||Named perils for contents||Renters|
|HO-5 (comprehensive)||Higher-value house||Open perils for structure and personal property||Homeowners who want the most comprehensive coverage|
|HO-6 (unit-owners)||Condo or co-op unit||Named perils for contents and certain structural items||Condo or co-op unit owners|
|HO-7 (mobile home)||Mobile home||Open perils for structure, named perils for personal property||Mobile home owners|
|HO-8 (modified coverage)||Old, high-risk homes||Limited named perils for structure and personal property||Homeowners who don’t qualify for any other coverage|
What to do if you experience a natural disaster
If a natural disaster strikes and damages your home or personal belongings, it can be helpful to know what your next steps should be. Here’s what to do once a natural disaster causes damages or losses:
With Credible, you can easily compare homeowners insurance quotes from top providers.
Disclaimer: All insurance-related services are offered through Young Alfred.