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Home Disasters (Home Owner Insurance)

Introduction - Unfortunately, disasters of the natural kind have always existed and although we have systems in place to detect the imminent onset of some, homeowners still have to deal with the consequences. The United States of America has to endure a broad range of "weather" conditions, some conditions can be insured against. Our weather system seems to becoming more severe and hence the need for home owner  insurance becomes more important.  Your location will of course determine your chances of suffering a " weather or disaster related loss" and some perils will be covered by your policy, others you will have to pay for. Where you live will determine your rate.

Hurricanes - this type of natural disaster usually occurs in coastal regions, eastern and Southern United States of America are prime examples. Florida is a Hurricane Hotspot.
Under a Standard Home insurance owner policy, Hurricanes are usually covered but you must check your policy wording. Look for the section saying " Windstorm".
Please remember that the bulk of Hurricane damage is not caused by wind but by water, be it rain or tidal surge. To obtain this protection, you will need to purchase Flood Insurance which is  an optional extra.

Tornadoes - one things for sure, Tornados occur almost every year  mainly in the Midwest's "Tornado Alley" an area that stretches from Texas northward to the Dakotas. Tornados have been known to occur in other areas as well. 
 A standard home owner policy will cover any losses incurred by tornadoes, again look for the peril listed as " Windstorm". Please remember though that your rate will be calculated on your potential  exposure to a claim. 

Volcanoes - thankfully volcanoes do not  cause much alarm amongst American Homeowners, they are not common, only Hawaii and Washington have any real exposure. Damage caused by Volcanoes is usually covered by your Standard Home Owner Insurance policy.

Firestorms - usually, the hot summer months bring dry weather and hot winds. A small spark or carelessness can turn a parched land with dry grass &  bushes in  to a wall of flame. These firestorms will  travel rapidly over dry land and will require huge resources to control. Your standard home owner insurance policy should protect against this risk and all other types of Fire, always check your policy wording though.

Floods - every year, Floods cause major damage in the United States. As it is such a major problem, the peril of Flood is never included in the standard home owner insurance policy wording. You will have to purchase it as an optional extra and again your rate will be governed by where you live. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a federally-funded program that offers insurance to those at risk of a Flood. It is based on a community participation basis: if your community isn't a part of it, you may not be able to acquire flood insurance. However, most communities participate if they are at risk. Flood insurance  covers:-

  • Direct physical damage to the main house and its foundations
  • Erosion damage

It does not cover:

  • Structures extended over water (i.e. boathouses)
  • Structures other than buildings ( pools, etc.)

Flood cover is limited and you should expect there to be a ceiling on cover.

Earthquakes - earthquakes occur throughout the United States with California being the most  memorable. Earthquake Insurance is not included under the standard home owner insurance policy and you will have to purchase it as an optional extra. There is usually a high deductible but as a lot a claims are for a catastrophe, this is usually seen as being quite reasonable ( Deductible of 10% is common). The cost of Earthquake Insurance depends on where you live, there are 5 rate areas and the construction of your house may also influence the rate. Also remember that this extra will not include Flood Damage caused by Earthquake, you will have to purchase that cover as an extra as well.


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