It’s no secret that natural disasters continue to worsen, happening more frequently and causing more damage year over year. In 2021 alone, the United States saw 20 natural catastrophe events exceed $1 billion each. This is why homeowners need to think about their exposure to natural disasters and have the right insurance in case disasters strike.
A traditional homeowners insurance policy may provide financial protection from some natural disasters. However, some weather events are excluded from standard home insurance policies. This is when you might have to purchase additional coverage to protect you and your home from specified weather events.
Here’s an overview of the types of insurance you can get to protect you and your home from natural disasters.
There are eight types of homeowners insurance numbered HO-1 through HO-8, and they each have different levels of coverage you need to consider. The most popular home insurance in the United States is an HO-3 policy. Here are the natural disasters typically covered by an HO-3 policy:
- Volcanic eruption
- Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
Common natural disaster exclusions in an HO-3 policy and an even more comprehensive option like an HO-5 policy include:
- Earth movements
Additionally, depending on where you live, you might need to buy additional coverage for specific weather events in case your home insurance policy maxes out. Always be sure to look at the fine print in your policy for exclusions of specific natural disasters. You can find ways to supplement coverage and ensure you’re covered from perils.
Since flood damage and mudflows are excluded from most homeowners insurance policies, you’ll need to purchase a flood insurance policy. The federal government requires flood insurance if you live in a designated high-risk area and have a federally-backed mortgage. According to Ready.gov, floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. It might still be a good idea to have this type of coverage even if it isn’t required.
The vast majority of people purchase insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Though private flood insurance companies are becoming more popular, they still account for a very small percentage of all flood insurance policies. There’s usually a 30-day waiting period for flood insurance. If you live in a flood-prone area, don’t wait until it’s too late to get this type of coverage. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your flood insurance policy, so you know what is and isn’t covered in the event of a flood.
Homeowners insurance will usually cover damage linked to tornadoes and hurricanes, such as hail or wind damage. However, if you live in a tornado or hurricane-prone area, you might need to purchase windstorm coverage. High winds might be excluded from your homeowners insurance policy.
Windstorm coverage protects your home, belongings, and structures on your property from damage related to either wind or hail. There is usually a 15-day hold period for windstorm coverage to activate.
Earth movement insurance
Earth movements such as mudslides, earthquakes, and sinkholes are also a common exclusion in standard homeowners insurance policies. Luckily, there is coverage you can buy for these types of natural events. Insurance for earth movements might be available through a limited number of carriers in states where these events are more commonplace, though they might also be expensive.
Whenever you’re shopping for insurance, be sure to look at whether or not your policy covers the actual replacement value for your belongings or repairs to structures or if it will only cover the depreciated value. If a policy only covers depreciated value, you might be left to foot a much heftier bill for repairs to your property than you’re ready to cover.
If you want to make sure that you’re properly covered in the event of a natural disaster, be sure to connect with the Guided team today to learn more about your available options.