Are Natural Disasters Covered by Home Insurance?  Here’s What You Should Know

As you compare quotes for home insurance for a new home, or as you upgrade your existing coverage, you should know if your home will be protected against natural disasters.  

Typically, a basic home insurance policy provides natural disaster coverage such as:

  • Tornadoes
  • Hurricanes
  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Explosion
  • Volcanoes
  • Extreme cold

But, you may be surprised to learn that many common perils are not covered by basic policies.  Here are some things you should know about natural disaster coverage.

What’s Covered and What Is Not?

Let’s take a look at the most common hazards that are covered by home insurance and what is not included.  With this information, you will be able to determine whether you need additional coverage.  


An average of 1,200 tornadoes occur in the United States each year.  They can happen in any state usually in the spring and fall seasons.  Your homeowner’s insurance will cover any damage caused by tornadoes, including damage from wind, debris, and rain.  If you live in a tornado-prone state, you may want to consider increasing the policy’s coverage limit.  


Wind damage from hurricanes is covered by your home insurance policy.  There is a deductible, however, if you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes.  Considering the record-setting hurricane seasons in the past two years, you may want to obtain additional coverage if you are in a high-risk area.

Because moratoriums prevent policy updates during the storm season, we recommend that you act now.  You want to make sure you have adequate coverage before the hurricane season begins.


Whether a fire is accidental or caused by natural disasters, your home insurance has you covered.  Fires that are caused by negligence or intentionally set are excluded, though.  

Most home insurance will cover expenses for dwelling, liability, personal property, and additional living expenses.  Make sure you read the policy carefully to determine whether your coverage limit is large enough to reimburse for these losses.  

Why is fire insurance so important?  The statistics should help you answer that question.  For instance, last year, firefighters responded to 1.4 million fires in the United States.  About 26 percent of the fires occurred in residential properties costing more than $21.9 billion in property damage.  You should place fire prevention as a top priority for your family and home and take steps to ensure that you have adequate fire insurance.


Lightning strikes and the resulting fire damage are typically covered by standard homeowners insurance policies.  However, the insurance company classifies lightning damage into three categories and may treat each classification differently in terms of payout.  The three ways lightning may damage your home include:

  1. Direct strikes:  When lightning strikes your home directly, it will be the easiest to resolve with your insurance company.
  2. Near miss: You are covered if lightning misses your home but still causes damage.  However, the insurance company must first determine that the damage is from lightning and not an electrical source.
  3. Ground surge:  A ground surge is similar to a near miss and is the most frequent lightning-related claim.  The phenomenon results from a spike in electricity caused by lightning, but it is often difficult to prove.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, 71,551 lightning-related claims were filed in 2020.  It’s good to know that your basic home insurance will cover this type of loss.


In the event of an explosion, your home, personal property, and additional living expenses are covered by a basic policy.  Explosions may occur as a result of a nearby explosion in another home or from a gas leak in your home.  As long as it is not deemed purposeful or illegal, your policy will cover the damage.


Did you know there are 161 potentially active volcanoes in the United States?  Most of them are located in Alaska, Hawaii, and along the West Coast.  Although volcanic activity in the starters is fairly uncommon, it’s not impossible.  However, the last occurrence was in 1980 when Mount St Helens in Washington erupted.  

While your home may not be close to a volcano, an eruption can spread ash and debris that travels long distances.  The eruption can cause damage through debris, ash, fire, shockwaves, and lava flow.  Your basic homeowner’s policy will pay out for damage caused by these effects.  

Keep in mind that volcanic eruptions may also cause mudslides or earthquakes.  Damage from these effects is not covered by a basic home insurance policy.  The good news is that you can add this coverage to protect your property and give your family peace of mind.  

Extreme Cold

Your home can be adversely affected by extreme cold in several ways.  For instance:

  • Ice damage to the roof of your home
  • Frozen pipes
  • Injuries from falls that happen on frozen driveways

Snow or ice on the roof of your home can cause substantial damage.  Plus, melting snow and ice can result in flooding, which is not covered by a standard home insurance policy.      

Frozen pipes often burst and cause severe water damage to the home and property.  In some cases, the claim may be deemed a preventable loss.  This means the company may decide that a lack of maintenance contributed to the frozen pipes and may not pay for the damages.  

Should a guest or family member slip and fall on a frozen area in your yard, you will be protected from lawsuits.  But, if the medical expenses exceed your policy limit, you may be facing a lawsuit after all.  If you live in a harsh winter area, home maintenance is a must to help prevent any accidents.

Why You Need Additional Disaster Coverage  

Although some natural occurrences such as hurricanes and tornadoes may result in flooding, your basic policy does not provide protection for flood damage. Additionally, certain areas of the U.S. are considered high-risk for:

  • Floods
  • Mudslides
  • Earthquakes
  • Landslides

To protect yourself from damage caused by these perils, you may want to consider extra insurance coverage if you live in one of those areas.  You should also review the FEMA risk index to learn about the potential hazards of your state.  It’s also wise to prepare an emergency kit and practice an emergency safety plan with your family.  

With Sandifer Insurance Agency, You Get Peace of Mind

Natural disasters cannot be avoided, but you can take steps to protect your home and family with the right insurance.  Contact us at Sandifer Insurance Agency in Cheraw, SC to discuss your home insurance needs.  With the right insurance, you’ll gain peace of mind knowing your home and family are covered in the event of a natural disaster or other loss.  


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