Disaster Insurance: Knowing What is Covered

Mar 26 2014

Planning for disasters involves a lot of different steps. From preparing your home for severe weather to putting together an emergency response kit for the aftermath of a calamatous event, disaster preparation is an ongoing process. One element of this process is considering insurance matters. Things like evaluating your insurance policy and understanding what is and isn’t covered in the event of a disaster are extremely important parts of the larger preparation initiative.

Insurance matters can be confusing and understanding homeowners insurance as related to disasters is widely variable. There are many tiers of coverage and many variables that can affect your coverage and, consequently, your ability to quickly recover from a disaster. Every insurance policy has caveats and exclusions where coverage disappears and you become the sole responsible party–unless you buy additional coverage for these blank spots.


Basic Homeowners Insurance

If you own a home, you are required to have homeowners insurance. This insurance covers a variety of natural disasters and unfortunate circumstances, but by no means everything. Typically, the events covered fall under the designation of ‘named perils’. These include the following: fires, lightning, windstorms, hail, explosion, smoke, theft, vandalism, vehicle damage to the home, ice or snow damage, and some water damage from appliance, a/c, or plumbing overflow. This is a pretty comprehensive amount of items coverage, but it is important to recognize there are just as many, and often worse, events that are not covered under basic insurance.


Looking into the Gaps

Most of the events that fall in the gaps of basic homeowners insurance coverage can be purchased as additional policies. Above all, consult your individual policy to determine exactly what it covered and what isn’t. Here are a few events that are generally not covered under basic policies: earthquakes and other ground movement, floods and most water damage, hurricanes, and nuclear disasters. Regions prone to things like hurricanes, seasonal flooding, and earthquakes often encourage residents to purchase these addtional policies to ensure that losses are covered by insurance.

The sometimes unpredictable nature of natural disasters makes this added coverage a necessity no matter where you live. While hurricanes only occur in certain regions, flooding can occur anywhere and earthquakes are an unpredictable risk across the U.S. Ultimately, the best disaster preparedness comes down to having reliable insurance coverage to assist in the recovery process.

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