Natural disasters can wreak havoc on a home – or destroy it completely. The homeowner’s insurance provides financial protection against covered damage to your home and personal belongings as well as liability for damage to others in certain circumstances. No home insurance covers all natural disasters. It is important to understand what type of insurance you have and what disasters it covers.
What does standard homeowners insurance cover?
Standard home insurance covers a range of disasters:
The most basic type of homeowner’s insurance is a HO-1 policy, which limits coverage to the home itself, appliances and associated structures, for damages caused by:
- Windstorms and hail
- Aircraft or vehicles
- Volcanic eruption
HO-2 insurances, known as broad homeowners insurances, cover personal belongings, as well as everything covered by HO-1insurances. In addition to the hazards listed above, HO-2 insurance policies usually cover:
- Falling objects
- The weight of snow, ice or slush
- Accidental discharge or flooding of water or steam from plumbing, heating, air conditioning or fire protection sprinkler systems or household appliances
- Freezing of plumbing, heating, air conditioning, household appliances or automatic fire protection sprinkler systems
- Sudden tearing, cracking, bulging or burning of steam or hot water heating systems, or air conditioning or automatic fire protection systems
- Sudden, unintentional damage from artificially generated electric current
HO-3 is the most common type of home insurance. This type of insurance covers everything covered by an HO-2 policy, plus extra living expenses and medical payments and some liability insurance. These are usually open risk policies. This means that the structure of the house is covered for all types of damage, except for exceptions mentioned in the policy. Usually, personal belongings are only covered for named hazards with an HO-3 policy.
What disasters are not covered by home insurance?
A few natural disasters are not covered by homeowners’ insurance, including the following:
- Floods: All types of homeowner insurance policies exclude flood coverage. If you live in a flood zone, you can purchase separate flood insurance through an agent or the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The cost of a flood insurance policy varies from state to state and depends on how high the flood risk is based on the location of your home.
- Earthquakes: Like floods, earthquakes are not covered by homeowners’ insurance. However, most insurance companies offer an earthquake approval that you can add to your insurance at an additional cost. Homes in nearly half of the states in the United States are at risk of earthquake damage.
- Tsunamis: These giant waves are usually caused by volcanic eruptions underwater or earthquakes. Although tsunamis are not a covered danger under homeowners policy, flood insurance can cover the damage they cause.
- Nuclear event: A nuclear event or explosion can damage your home. Nuclear power plants must have liability protection to protect the public in the event of damage to property or damage.
Your home is one of your biggest financial investments. It is important to have the right home insurance to protect that investment. Our friendly agent is happy to help ensure you have the coverage you need.