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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Natural Disasters?

Standard homeowners insurance covers many of the common natural disasters, except for flooding and earthquakes. The list of excluded natural disasters can vary state by state and by location in general. High-risk and/or coastal properties may require additional coverages or standalone policies added to be protected from some of these perils.

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In most cases, a standard homeowners insurance policy will cover the homeowner from a number of natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning, wildfires, and many others.

While many natural disasters are covered in most cases, what natural disasters are covered under a home insurance policy can differ from location to location and insurer to insurer. Also, there are two natural disasters that are never covered, earthquakes and flooding.

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Key facts
  • Many natural disasters are covered in most cases, while earthquakes and flooding are never covered by standard home insurance.
  • Earthquake and flood insurance can typically be added on or purchased as a separate policy for an additional fee if homeowner wants to protect themselves from those perils.
  • Some insurers will exclude some natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes if the homeowner lives in an area that is particularly prone to those disasters, in which case an add-on or separate policy would be needed to protect against these disasters.

Does home insurance cover natural disasters?

Yes, a standard home insurance policy will cover most natural disasters, most of the time. The homeowners policy will cover your dwelling, other structures, personal property, and additional living expenses as it would damage from any other peril covered in the policy. Some policies are more comprehensive in their coverage than others. An HO-1 policy might not cover as many natural disasters as the standard HO-3 does. It is important to read through one’s policy to understand exactly what is covered under the policy and to what extent you are covered as coverage limits differ as well.

Depending on a homeowner’s location some natural disasters may be excluded by insurance providers. The most common case where this occurs is for homeowners that live in “Tornado Alley” in the central USA or along the coast where hurricanes and tropical storms are common. These areas are especially prone to wind and hail damage; therefore, insurers exclude these from a standard policy in order to protect themselves and keep premiums lower for homeowners. In this case, these homeowners would have to go add-on these coverages such as windstorm insurance for an additional premium cost, or purchase separate, standalone policies in order to be covered.

Any home insurance policy owner should take note that earthquakes and other related ground movements as well as flooding are never covered under a standard home insurance policy. In order to be covered from floods and earthquakes, one must purchase additional flood and earthquake coverages as endorsements or separate standalone policies in order for the homeowner to be covered.

Common natural disasters that are covered by homeowners Insurance

There are a few common natural disasters that are typically covered by a standard homeowners policy. These include: wildfires, tornadoes/hurricanes/other wind and hail damage, lightning and thunder, snow/sleet storms, volcanic eruptions, and explosions.


Wildfires along with other types of fires are almost always covered under a standard insurance policy. There are some areas where wildfires are quite common, like parts of California, Oregon, and Washington State. In these areas, some insurers may exclude this coverage or charge a higher premium.

Tornadoes and hurricanes

Tornadoes and hurricanes (wind and hail) damage is normally covered by a standard home insurance policy, but this is a common peril that gets excluded from coverage in areas where wind and hail damage is common. Typically, in these wind and hail prone areas, the homeowner must purchase a wind and hail endorsement or an altogether separate policy to be covered. Many insurers will have separate deductibles for wind and hail, which are typically higher than the standard deductible.


Lightning is usually always covered by a home insurance policy. If lightning is the cause of your house catching fire or a tree falling onto your home or something of that nature, in almost all cases, insurers will include this as a covered peril.

Snow, sleet, and other winter storms

In a standard HO-3 policy, damage done by some sort of winter storm, like the weight of snow and ice collapsing a roof is almost always covered as long as the homeowner did their due diligence to protect themselves as much as would be reasonably expected.

Volcanic eruptions

Volcanic eruptions are almost always covered in a homeowner’s policy as well. Damage due to ash, dust, or lava as well as fire or smoke damage, will typically lead to a covered claim. An important note is that an earthquake caused by a volcanic eruption, would likely not be covered. 


Natural disasters sometimes cause explosions, whether of a gas line, power line, electrical pole, or something else that may be affected by the natural disaster. These sorts of explosions are covered by most home insurance policies. It is important to keep in mind that explosions due to war, intentional acts, or nuclear hazards, would not usually be covered.

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Natural disasters not covered by home Insurance

In most, if not all cases, earthquakes, flooding, sinkholes, landslides, and mudslides are not covered by home insurance. These are fairly common and costly natural disasters. If you are worried about being affected by these perils, you may be able to get coverage for one or more through an endorsement added to your policy. In many cases, you can purchase standalone policies that typically have high deductibles. 

Finding coverage for natural disasters that are not covered

When insurers exclude a particular natural disaster from a policy and don’t offer coverage for that disaster as an endorsement or standalone policy, the homeowner can typically turn to their state’s FAIR (Fair Access to Insurance Requirements) Program, which is a state-by-state program that is meant to provide homeowners at high risk with coverage.

Flood insurance, in many instances, is not offered at all by private insurers, but can usually be found through the National Flood Insurance Program. 

Wildfires are covered by most standard home insurance policies. Homeowners insurance used to be called fire insurance for a reason.


Most natural disasters are covered most of the time under a standard home insurance policy, but one or more natural disasters may be excluded depending on the homeowner’s location, and earthquakes and flooding are two natural disasters that are always excluded. In both of these cases, homeowner can still find coverage for an additional cost to protect themselves from any excluded natural disasters.

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Kyle has extensive background in financial planning and financial writing. He is an expert in home, auto and life insurance. Kyle holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from San Diego State University and multiple financial planning designations.
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