Is Your Home Insured for a Natural Disaster?

September 20, 2022

Home insurance policies provide an important layer of protection for your property, but the hazard insurance covering your property may not have the coverage you need if your community is hit by a natural disaster. For additional coverage, you may need to pay additional costs or take out a separate policy.

Rain collecting in a home's gutter

Here’s what you should know.

Understanding Your Home Insurance Coverage

Home insurance coverage can vary depending on the insurance company and level of coverage you choose. Most policies will cover physical damage to your home, but there can be certain exclusions for natural disasters, such as floods, or windstorms.

In your home insurance policy, the term perils refers to an event that causes damage to your home and results in financial loss. Depending on your insurance plan, your home may only be covered for damage caused by named perils, or risks specifically listed in your policy.

Commonly covered named perils include damage caused by:

  • Fire.
  • Weather — wind, rain, snow, ice, etc.
  • Vandalism and theft.
  • Vehicles.
  • Falling objects.

It is important to review your policy carefully and make sure you understand exactly what is or is not covered. This will allow you to make a more informed decision about whether additional coverages are right for your situation.

If a certain peril is not covered by your policy, you may be able to add an endorsement, or additional coverage, to your policy for a fee.

Determining if You Need Natural Disaster Insurance

Home insurance policies cover damage from weather events, but there are certain natural disasters that may require additional coverage. Home insurance:

  • Typically covers fire damage from wildfires or fallen trees damaging your home.
  • Typically does not cover wind damage in high-risk hurricane areas or damage from flooding — including storm surge flooding from hurricanes.

It is best to check with your insurance provider to see what is specifically covered by your policy, and to discuss options for any additional coverage needed.

Separate policies for specific uninsured perils are available through various private insurers, as well as federal government programs. Some states may offer specialty coverage, as well. For instance, California offers earthquake insurance for residents.

Helpful Disaster Insurance Resources

  • Flood Insurance: The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) manages the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is delivered to the public by a network of more than 50 insurance companies and NFIP Direct. Learn more.
  • Earthquake Insurance: The FEMA website has helpful information about traditional earthquake insurance and other steps you can take to make sure your home is prepared. Learn more.

Talk to your insurer to learn more about your current home insurance policy and determine if you should consider any additional endorsements to protect your home from the unexpected.

To learn more about home insurance and disaster preparedness, visit My Home by Freddie Mac®.