What You Need to Know About Homeowners Insurance and Natural Disasters
Homeowners insurance is an absolute necessity for every homeowner. Meant to protect your home and everything inside against potential damage or theft, a homeowners insurance policy can be critically important if the unexpected happens. And it’s often a required expense that homeowners have to buy to satisfy the mortgage company. But because this kind of insurance is often costly, most homeowners simply try to find the cheapest policy possible. Unfortunately, that means many homeowners don’t have adequate coverage. You can search online to find homeowners insurance policies that offer great coverage at an affordable price.
One area that many homeowners don’t consider is natural disaster insurance. Does your homeowners insurance policy protect you if a wildfire, hurricane, or other natural event destroys your home? With natural disasters becoming more frequent, this is becoming increasingly important. Search online today to discover homeowners insurance policies that include natural disaster coverage.
Homeowners Insurance Only Covers Some Natural Disasters
You probably didn’t think too much about the kinds of accidents or events homeowners insurance covers when you purchased your policy. After all, burglaries, fires, and injuries are all pretty standard occurrences – and homeowners insurance typically covers these issues.
But natural disasters are important to think about too. And although natural disasters happen across the U.S. every year, most homeowners insurance policies offer very limited coverage for them.
A typical homeowners insurance policy covers only the basis. It’ll cover damage to the interior or exterior of your home in the event of fire, lightning, vandalism, or other commonplace disasters. Hurricanes are often included in this coverage. But other events are not.
It’s important to take a look at your homeowners insurance policy to determine what, exactly, is covered. If you don’t see an event listed, you likely aren’t protected.
A Typical Homeowners Policy Has Many Exclusions
It’s critical that you look for exclusions in your homeowners policy as well as what’s included. That’s the best way to determine what you expressly are not covered for.
Typically, homeowners insurance excludes many types of natural disasters like the following.
Floods and Flood Damage
If your home is destroyed or damaged by flooding or a flood of mud, your home insurance policy likely won’t cover it. Even in regions that frequently experience flooding, this isn’t a disaster that most insurers will protect against. Whether it’s related to hurricanes, rising seawater, or other nature-related circumstances, flooding is considered an “extra.”
Fortunately, you can purchase special flood insurance policies. These are available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). There’s a 30-day waiting period, so make sure you purchase flood insurance well ahead of the annual flood season.
In certain areas of the U.S., earthquakes are a relatively common natural occurrence. They can cause absolutely no damage or completely decimate a home. No matter how common earthquakes are, though, most homeowners insurance policies won’t cover them.
States like California and Washington do offer earthquake insurance policies that can be purchased separately. If you live somewhere where earthquakes are likely, you may want to secure an additional policy to make sure you’re protected.
Hail might not be a very common occurrence, but it certainly happens. And it can be frequent, or at the very least an annual event, if you live in a snowy, wintry climate. When hail strikes, it can cause damage to your home, your vehicle, and different kinds of structures on your property. Usually, a basic homeowners policy will cover damage caused by hail.
There’s an exception, though. If you live in a region where hail storms happen frequently, like Great Plains states, your coverage may exclude, restrict payments for, or even impose higher deductibles on hail damage. And you may only be able to get coverage for hail storms if there’s structural damage to your home.
A sinkhole, which can happen alongside an earthquake or on its own, is also not typically covered by a basic homeowners insurance policy. Sinkholes, landslides, mudslides, and other earth movements are excluded.
Insurance for sinkholes, landslides, mudslides, and similar natural disasters can be purchased separately in some states and regions. However, keep in mind that this insurance can be expensive if you live somewhere that these events happen frequently – insurers know that you’ll be likely to have to use your policy’s benefits.
Other types of natural disasters, like wildfires or tornadoes, may be excluded from your basic insurance policy. It’s important to check your current policy and coverage. You can also search online to see if certain regions have any particular exclusions or limitations on natural disaster coverage.
Shop Around for Homeowners Insurance With Natural Disaster Coverage
If you aren’t sure whether or not you’re covered in the event a natural disaster damages or destroys your home, it’s time to check. Make sure to take a close look at your current policy. And if natural disasters aren’t covered, you need to get additional protection.
You have options when it comes to natural disasters and homeowners insurance. Many companies offer riders, which allow you to customize your homeowners policy and add coverage. Other insurers will sell special policies designed just for specific kinds of natural disasters.
You can find affordable natural disaster insurance policies if you search online. For example, you can find policies that cover wildfires for as little as $477 for low-risk areas or $1,409 for high-risk areas. You can also find policies that cover floods for as low as $300 in low-risk areas and up to $20,000 in high-risk areas. It simply depends on where you live, how much your home is worth, and how high you’d like your deductible to be. Search online to see what you can find within your budget for the natural disasters you’re most concerned about.