Does home insurance cover natural disasters?

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If you live near a river or in low-lying areas that have a higher risk of flooding, flood insurance is highly recommended to protect your property. Maintaining your home, yard, and foundations can also help prevent water damage.7

Even properties located inland are at risk of flood damage. Consider if your location receives heavy rainfall or is at risk of other disasters, such as hurricanes or freezing temperatures, which could cause flooding.

Be aware that there is a 30-day waiting period before flood coverage begins, so don’t wait until it’s too late to change your home insurance policy. Landslides and other events caused by flooding can also be covered by a flood insurance policy.

Earthquakes and Landslides

Changes in terrain, including earthquakes and landslides, are generally not covered by basic home insurance policies. Protections can be added with a difference in terms policy, which includes protections against:

  • Earthquake
  • Landslides
  • Mudslides
  • floods

Earthquake coverage is also provided by government programs such as the California Earthquake Authority to serve residents of at-risk areas. If you live near a fault line or other high-risk area, check with your insurer for available policy options.

Chasms

Another type of landslide that is not included in basic home insurance is sinkholes. These depressions in the ground can cause significant damage to the land and to the house.

They are quite rare in the United States and have a 1 in 100 chance of forming every year.8 Sinkings are especially common in parts of the southern United States

Insurance for sinkholes must be purchased in addition to your basic policy. Florida and Tennessee require insurers to provide sinkhole coverage.

Tsunamis

Tsunamis are huge waves caused by earthquakes that cause major damage and flooding. The tsunami itself is not covered by basic home insurance. However, flood insurance will cover damage caused by tsunami flooding.

Earthquake insurance does not protect you against damage caused by tsunamis, although high tsunami risk areas often also have a high chance of experiencing an earthquake. Areas like Hawaii that could experience a tsunami should consider both flood and earthquake coverage.

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