5 Natural Disasters Not Covered in Your Homeowners Policy

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natural disasterWe pay for homeowners insurance in the hopes that when something goes wrong, it won’t devastate our finances because the insurance company will cover the costs involved — including possibly paying to replace the home and everything in it.

And, while most natural disaster events, including fire, lightning, windstorm, and hail, might be covered by your homeowners policy, there are plenty of other disasters that aren’t covered. If you run into the following problems, you might find that your homeowners policy won’t cover your costs, and that could, in turn, cause serious problems for your finances:

  1. Hurricane: Most homeowners policies won’t cover damage done by hurricanes. If you live an area prone to hurricane problems, you might need to purchase extra insurance coverage. It’s also important to note that there are limitations to what your hurricane coverage might include. For instance, you might be covered by damage done by high winds, in the hurricane, and by water falling into your home from the sky, but you might not be covered for flood damage.
  2. Flooding: This is another type of natural disaster that might not be included in your homeowners coverage. It’s also vital that you understand the difference between flood damage and water damage. You might actually be covered for the damage caused when a pipe breaks, damaging your home. However, if groundwater rises and floods your home, you might not be covered. Learn the difference, understand what’s covered, and be careful about using the word “flood” when talking to your insurance agent.
  3. Tornado: A tornado is not a windstorm, and you might not be covered by the damage done by a tornado. Carefully check your homeowners policy. If you are concerned that a tornado could cause problems, make sure that you do, in fact, get the extra coverage that you need.
  4. Earthquake: If your home is struck by an earthquake, you might be disappointed to learn that your insurance policy won’t cover the damage. You might need additional coverage in order to make sure that you are protected from these natural disasters.
  5. Mudslides: Many homeowners policies don’t include coverage for mudslides and similar earth movements and problems. This can include sinkholes as well as mudslides. If your home is swallowed by a sinkhole, or is buried beneath a mudslide, you could find yourself bearing the whole cost. You can get extra coverage for these types of disasters if you are concerned.

Don’t assume that you are covered in the event of a natural disaster. You might need to purchase extra coverage, particularly if you are in an area at risk for natural disasters. You also need to double-check your natural disaster coverage to make sure you understand exactly how the damage is categorized, and what types of damage are covered. In some cases, you might only be covered for damage that is a direct result of the disaster, and not for damage indirectly caused.

Know what your coverage entails before you get the policy — and certainly know what your coverage entails now. You don’t want any more surprises while you are dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster.


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7 Responses to “5 Natural Disasters Not Covered in Your Homeowners Policy”

  1. Texas Wahoo says:

    Is it true that most insurance policies do not cover damage done by hurricanes (of the non-flooding variety)? I know many people that have had their insurance coverage cover their hurricane damage, but maybe they are in the minority? Or maybe it differs based on where you live?

    • Scott says:

      I think the article is wrong. We live in the hurricane band and all insurance policies I’ve ever seen include hurricane coverage, and I don’t ever recall seeing any option to exclude it. I think it may be mandated by law that insurance policies include this, but don’t quote me on that. However, it’s important to point out that our deductible is different for hurricanes than for everything else. Typically, most policies set your hurricane deductible at 2% of the value of your home, not a flat amount, e.g. $1000 or $500 like your deductible for other stuff.

  2. thunderthighs says:

    Excellent, I’m sending this to someone who is shopping for insurance on his first home!

  3. Shirley says:

    Quite possibly they live where hurricanes are known to happen and have been offered and taken the extra coverage.

    In California insurers are required to tell you that earthquake damage is not covered and offer the option of buying the extra policy.

  4. Shirley says:

    This was meant to be in reply to Texas Wahoo.

  5. ro e. says:

    we newly lived in calif. and thanks for this info. because i dont read much when it comes to condo insur. if disaster happens . thats it. well check the policy if i could grasph it. thanks!!

  6. admiral58 says:

    My house was flooded from the hurricane, and insurance or FEMA didn’t help at all! Terrible experience.

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