The United States is home to more tornadoes than any other country, with over 1000 occurring every year. Canada is second, with only 100 tornadoes per year. While the area known tornado alley is considered the most at-risk, tornadoes can also occur in states other than these high-risk areas.
Each year, the U.S. suffers an average of 10 billion dollars in damages from tornadoes. Tornadoes can do severe damage to your home. Without proper insurance, you could be responsible for the entire cost of rebuilding or repairing it. It is important to understand how your homeowners insurance reacts to tornado damage.
Tornado damage is covered by homeowners insurance
It is not necessary to add tornado coverage separately like earthquake or flood insurance. There may be instances where homeowners will need additional coverage for tornado damage. It is worth discussing your policy with an agent to learn more about the coverages and financial protections they provide.
Three primary coverages in your home insurance cover tornado damage.
- Dwelling coverage covers the structure of your house and any attached structures such as decks or garages.
- Personal property coverage protects your personal possessions in the event they are damaged or destroyed. Some policies cover the replacement cost for personal property that is damaged or destroyed by a tornado. Others only cover the actual cost of personal property, with depreciation.
- If you are unable to live in your home due to a loss, will pay for temporary housing and any other expenses like food and laundry costs.
Most homeowners have tornado coverage as a part their standard homeowners insurance policy. Because tornadoes are more frequent in certain areas, homeowners may have to pay higher for homeowners insurance. The vast majority of home insurance policies do not include exclusions for tornadoes. Most renters policies also cover personal property in tornado cases. Every policy and every company are different so it is important to review your policy and talk with your agent about your tornado preparedness plan.
How do you choose the right policy for coverage of tornado damage?
Most homeowners should obtain coverage for tornado damage because of the number of tornadoes in the United States each year. A tornado can cause severe damage in certain cases. In some cases, a strong tornado can even destroy a house.
As part of their basic coverage, most homeowners insurance policies cover damage from windstorms. To ensure that tornado damage is covered, homeowners can follow these steps:
- You should read your policy. Rather than just filing your insurance policy each year when it arrives, you might want to spend some time reading through your policy. This will help you to understand the details of your coverage.
- Talk to your agent. If you are not able to verify that your policy covers tornado damage through reading, you might want to contact your agent or a representative of your insurance agency. Your agent should be able advise you on how your policy would respond to tornado damage.
- You can add additional coverage to homeowners insurance policies. Although most policies cover wind damage, you may need to purchase an endorsement or a separate policy. You might consider adding wind coverage to your policy if you are not sure.
It should not be difficult to add wind damage coverage. The agent should be able guide you through the steps to get coverage for tornado damage.
Insurance for tornadoes: What is the cost?
The cost for tornado damage coverage is usually covered by a home insurance policy. This means that the amount of your home insurance will have a significant impact on the cost. The cost of your coverage will be affected by how much you have, the value of your home, the amount you have to cover personal property, the likelihood that there are tornadoes in your area, and the number of claims you have filed.
You will need to add tornado coverage to your homeowner’s insurance policy separately. This may incur an additional charge. The cost of the rider will depend on which insurance company you have. You may need to meet a separate windstorm insurance deductible. This is usually higher than your homeowners insurance deductible.
How to prepare for tornado damage
There are things that you can do before a tornado hits to reduce the chance of your property and home being damaged.
Identify your possessions
You might want to make a list of all your belongings before a tornado strikes. You should record a detailed description of your belongings, as well as the cost for each item. Keep this list safe (such a safety deposit box at your bank) so you can easily access it in case you need it.
Prepare your home
You can help your tornado response time by strengthening windows and doors, locating utility lines and shut-offs, and making sure your roof is in good condition. While it’s unlikely that tornadoes will cause all the damage, there are ways to reduce the chance of severe damage.
You can feel more prepared by creating an emergency plan and making sure everyone knows the steps. Tornadoes can strike quickly so it is important to know where you have your emergency supplies, how to access information, and where shelter is located.
What should you do after a tornado strikes?
List all damages and losses
You may experience damage from a tornado to your house, which could be anything from missing shingles to total destruction. After it is safe to leave, take pictures of the damage and make a list. This information can help you keep track of damages as they are being repaired, and could be useful if you file an insurer claim.
File a claim with the insurance company if you are affected by a tornado. This can be done by calling your insurance company or calling their 800 number. However, many companies offer online and mobile claims. The company will need to know the extent of the damage to your house or personal belongings. An adjuster will be assigned for your loss. He or she may visit your home to assess the damage and make any necessary adjustments before you release payment.
Keep in touch
To settle your claim, you will need to keep in touch with your claims adjuster. For example, you may be required to send your home inventory or a repair estimate. The claims process can be slowed down if you don’t communicate clearly with your adjuster.
Questions frequently asked
Which is the best company for home insurance?
There is no single company that can provide homeowners insurance that meets all your needs. You may be able find the best insurance company by getting quotes from multiple providers. This allows you compare the pricing, coverages, and discounts offered by each company.
What if my homeowners policy doesn’t cover tornado damage?
Each insurance company has its own regulations so it’s difficult to know when tornado damage will be covered. To find out if your policy covers tornado damage, it is best to speak to your agent or company representative.
Do I need to have tornado coverage in my state for this?
Although there are no specific requirements for tornado coverage in each state, most homeowners will want it. Although there are certain areas that are more susceptible to tornadoes than others, these weather phenomenon can strike anywhere.