Is your home insured in the event of a natural disaster?

Home insurance policies provide an important layer of protection for your property, but risk insurance covering your property may not have the coverage you need if your community is hit by a natural disaster. For additional coverage, you may need to pay an additional fee or purchase a separate policy.

Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding your home insurance coverage

Home insurance coverage can vary depending on the insurance company and the level of coverage you choose. Most policies cover physical damage to your home, but there may be some exclusions for natural disasters, such as floods or windstorms.

In your home insurance contract, the term perils refers to an event that causes damage to your home and results in financial loss. Depending on your insurance plan, your home may only be covered for damage caused by named perilsor perils specifically listed in your policy.

Commonly covered named perils include damage caused by:

  • Fire.
  • Weather — wind, rain, snow, ice, etc.
  • Vandalism and theft.
  • Vehicles.
  • Falling objects.

It’s important to review your policy carefully and make sure you understand exactly what is and isn’t covered. This will allow you to make a more informed decision about whether additional coverage is right for your situation.

If a certain risk is not covered by your policy, you can add a approvalor additional coverage, to your policy for a fee.

Determine if you need natural disaster insurance

Home insurance policies cover damage caused by inclement weather, but some natural disasters may require additional coverage. Home Insurance:

  • Usually covers damage from forest fires or fallen trees damaging your home.
  • Usually does not cover wind damage in high hurricane hazard areas or flood damage – including storm surge flooding from hurricanes.

It is best to check with your insurance provider to see what is specifically covered by your policy and to discuss options for any additional coverage needed.

Separate policies for specific uninsured perils are available from various private insurers, as well as federal government programs. Some states may also offer specialty coverage. For example, California offers earthquake insurance for the inhabitants.

Helpful resources on catastrophe insurance

  • Flood insurance: The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) administers the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is made available to the public through a network of more than 50 insurance companies and NFIP Direct. Learn more.
  • Earthquake Insurance: FEMA’s website has helpful information about traditional earthquake insurance and other steps you can take to make sure your home is prepared. Learn more.

Talk to your insurer to learn more about your current home insurance policy and whether you should consider other endorsements to protect your home against the unexpected.

For more on home insurance and disaster preparedness, visit My Home by Freddie Mac®.