Natural Disasters and Home Insurance: What You Need to Know

Basil Mahadeo
4 min readJul 19, 2021

There are many natural disasters that can potentially plague your home, including fire, floods, and hurricanes — all of which can be potentially life-threatening. Homeowners insurance can help mitigate these risks and give you peace of mind that your home will be repaired or rebuilt if disaster strikes.

However, not all policies cover all types of damage from natural disasters, so it is important to do your due diligence when looking for coverage. Protection is the name of the game when it comes to getting the right financial security for your home, and in the end, it’s your responsibility.

The Risks of Not Being Insured During a Disaster

For most people, their home is their most valuable, precious possession. Purchasing homeowners insurance just makes good sense — you want to protect your investment and create a safety net in case disaster strikes. Unfortunately, disaster can strike often. For example, in the U.S. alone, some 385,500 home fires occur every year, equating to one fire every 87 seconds.

If your home is damaged or destroyed, and you don’t have homeowners insurance, you’ll be left having to pay out of pocket to repair or rebuild your house. Think about it: could you afford this without going deep into debt? Most people cannot. Forgoing homeowners insurance could result in you and your family being homeless if disaster strikes. Alternatively, you might have to stay in a damaged, unsafe home if you can’t afford the repairs.

What’s more, keep in mind that homeowners insurance doesn’t only cover the building itself. Typically, homeowners insurance also covers many of your possessions inside; outdoor structures like sheds, fences, and decks; or even medical bills when someone is injured in your home. Furniture and electronics are often covered if they are damaged or stolen. Plus, if your home is damaged to the extent that it is not safe to remain there, homeowners insurance may cover your hotel bills and temporary living costs while your home is repaired.

Attaining Peace of Mind with Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance doesn’t just financially compensate you — it can also give you peace of mind. Losing your home is one of the worst things that can happen to you, after death or injury of a loved one. Having homeowners insurance means you don’t have to worry that you’ll be put out on the street if your home is damaged or destroyed. You can rest a bit easier at night knowing that you have a safety net to fall back upon.

Finding the Right Insurance to Cover Your Home

It’s important to understand what is typically covered in a homeowners insurance policy. Note that not all plans are the same, and different plans provide different levels of coverage. A disaster or type of home damage covered under one plan may be excluded under another. That is why it’s crucial to read the fine print, ask questions of your agent, and make sure you understand exactly what you’re buying when you purchase a policy.

That said, there are some types of disasters that most policies cover, and other types that are usually excluded.

Homeowners insurance typically covers damage from:

· Fire

· Windstorm

· Hail

· Smoke

· Explosions

· Theft

· Aircraft and vehicles (for example, a speeding car smashes into your house)

· Volcanic eruption

· Overflow of water from plumbing and fire-protection sprinkler systems

Homeowners insurance typically does not cover damage from:

· Flood

· Earthquake

· Sewer backup

· Poor maintenance

For floods, earthquakes, and other disasters not usually covered by homeowners insurance policies, you can still purchase separate policies to cover damage from these events. You may also be able to add what’s known as an endorsement to your policy, which expands the types of damage and disasters that it covers.

You might have noticed that hurricanes aren’t listed anywhere above. This is because many policies cover wind damage, but not flooding. So if high winds from a hurricane cause a tree to fall on your home, that damage would likely be covered, but flooding damage from the hurricane’s storm surge or torrential rain would not. Again, every policy is different, and these are just general rules of thumb. Always ask questions and be sure you understand what your policy covers.

When shopping around for homeowners insurance, look for a reliable company that’s also affordable. Some policies are inherently more expensive, so it’s important to know what your options are — and what the tradeoffs are. You may find a plan with a low deductible, but it will probably have high monthly premiums. Plans with high deductibles often have lower monthly premiums.

Protect Your Home and Yourself with Comprehensive Coverage

Some people think homeowners insurance isn’t worth it. It’s natural to think “it could never happen to me,” but this is simply not true. Forgoing homeowners insurance just isn’t smart — disaster can strike when you least expect it and you could pay dearly. Don’t end up in this situation.

--

--

Basil Mahadeo

Basil Dahana Ram Mahadeo is a Director of GBTI for the past twenty-two (22) years.