Mon Nov 12 2018
This year has been a busy one for natural disasters. Around the United States, bad weather and bad luck have caused billions of dollars in damage. As a homeowner, you probably hear about these events and wonder: would my homeowners insurance cover me for that?
Let’s look at some recent disasters and break down what your home insurance would likely cover.
Hurricanes Florence and Michael battered the eastern United States in late summer, and Hurricane Willa made landfall in October, bringing heavy rain to parts of Texas and Mexico. This makes two consecutive years of seriously damaging hurricanes, and climate scientists agree that this is our new normal.
So how can you expect your homeowners insurance to behave if you’re caught in the path of a hurricane?
Just as important as having the right policies, though, is making sure your property is ready to withstand extreme weather. Check out our tips on prepping your home for hurricanes.
In September, several homes in Massachusetts caught fire (and a few residents died) when their gas lines exploded because pressure in the pipelines was 12 times higher than it was supposed to be.
Obviously, home insurance can’t do anything to fix the tragedy of lost life. But it can respond to other parts of this incident:
In this situation, the gas company is apparently paying for some of these costs (including, in some cases, temporary housing). Regardless of the details of the incident, though, an insurance provider may attempt to recover some expenses from a responsible party (like the gas company), if there is one.
In May, a volcano in Hawaii erupted, wiping out roads and entire communities in its wake. But the residents affected by the spewing lava are still living with the consequences. Here’s what their home insurance likely did and did not cover:
If you live in an area with active volcanoes, contact your insurance provider about additional coverage that would protect you in the event of an eruption.
As of October, wildfires had burned more than eight million acres of land in the United States in 2018, and that number is even higher now due to the latest wildfires in California. While homeowners insurance usually covers damage from fires, some homeowners in wildfire-heavy areas may not have this coverage (or may pay a high premium for it). Check your policy when in doubt.
Also worth noting: Mudslides common in some parts of the country are usually not covered. As with volcanoes, homeowners at risk for “earth movement” may want to seek alternate coverage or invest in infrastructure that could help prevent damage.
One of the worst feelings a homeowner can have is finding out that damage to their home is not covered by their policy. Protecting your home starts with understanding the ins and outs of your policy – and shoring it up with additional insurance, if necessary.
And then there’s the importance of prevention: even the best insurance in the world can’t prevent bad things from happening – and in the case of natural disasters, neither can you. But you can take steps today to make your home safer and more resilient for the events most likely to affect you.
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