Natural Disasters and How to Protect Your Home
The number of catastrophic events in the U.S. has been on the rise in recent years, and 2019 had the highest number of reported catastrophes on record. Standard home insurance doesn’t always protect your home and personal property from catastrophe losses. Here are eight types of natural disasters with recommendations on how to best protect your home.
Standard homeowners policies don’t cover flood damage. To protect your home in a flood-prone zone, purchase flood insurance from the federal government through the NFIP. Start by contacting your agent or visiting floodsmart.gov —the official site of the NFIP—to learn more.
Homeowners insurance and renters insurance don’t cover damage to your home from earthquakes. Instead, you could buy earthquake insurance as an endorsement to your existing homeowners policy for an additional premium.
3. High Winds
Most insurers include high wind coverage in their standard homeowners policy. Protection typically extends to windstorm and hail damage, so an additional policy isn’t usually needed.
4. Severe Thunderstorms
Your homeowners insurance generally covers damage from severe thunderstorms, including wind, hail, and lightning. Most policies cover smoke, fire, and damage to electronics or appliances from lightning strikes or power surges.
Tornadoes come with high winds, and your standard policy is usually enough to cover any loss you might have. Because policies can vary, it’s best to check yours for specific perils.
Wildfires are a natural disaster that your homeowners policy will generally cover. If you’re in a wildfire-prone area, your insurance company may raise rates or deny coverage in certain instances.
How your insurance plan handles hurricanes depends on the damage caused. There is no stand-alone hurricane insurance. Instead, you must rely on a combination of different coverages.
For instance, your standard homeowners policy will likely cover wind damage. But additional flood insurance would be required for damage caused by storm surges or wind-driven water associated with the hurricane. Also, depending on where you live, your policy may require a separate, and higher, deductible for hurricanes.
8. Ice Storms
Winter storms are common in the northern and eastern parts of the U.S., including states like New York, Michigan, and Minnesota. You rarely need separate or additional insurance to cover damage from ice storms or heavy snow.