Climate change is no longer a myth or a topic of debate — it’s real.
During the past 50 years, there’s been an average of one weather-related disaster somewhere in the world every day. The result is 115 deaths and $202 million in losses daily.
The US is no stranger to natural disasters. Every other news headline seems to feature a story about the increase in extreme weather.
Thankfully, your insurance providers cover you through all extreme weather events — right?
Not so fast. Keep reading to learn about three instances when your insurance might not cover damage from a natural disaster.
Water damage is a major “gray area” in the world of insurance. If you have a burst pipe or a broken washing machine that floods your house, your insurer will typically cover the damage.
Flooding from a storm or severe weather event is a different story.
During the historic 2019 floods along the Missouri River Basin, many homeowners learned too late that their policies didn’t cover flooding. Even in areas prone to hurricanes and flooding, many homeowners are shocked to learn that flood insurance is not a standard part of their insurance policy.
Climate change means that floods can happen anytime, anywhere. If you haven’t purchased a separate flood insurance policy for your home, read more here about why it’s so important.
You likely think of California when you picture earthquakes, but the west coast isn’t the only part of the US that’s prone to shaking. Many parts of the Rocky Mountain states, the Midwest, and the Southeast are also at risk for seismic events.
Naturally, you’d assume if the earth moves under your house that your insurance providers will pay for any damage.
But the truth is that earthquakes are also not included in most homeowners’ policies. The same is true of related events such as sinkholes or landslides.
The good news is that you can buy a separate earthquake insurance policy to cover your home and belongings.
Speaking of California, the past few years have brought historic losses due to summertime wildfires. Since 2017, the US has seen anywhere from 50,000 to 70,000 unique wildfire events each year.
Like flooding and water damage, fire is another gray area in terms of insurance coverage. If your home catches on fire due to a faulty appliance or electrical wiring, your insurer will have your back.
If a wildfire sweeps through your region and destroys your home, it could be a different story. Homeowners with properties located in vulnerable areas like forested canyons have received a nasty surprise when their claims get denied after a wildfire.
Read your insurance documents carefully to see whether you need to purchase a separate wildfire policy.
Protection From Severe Weather Events
Your homeowner’s insurance policy provides coverage for many types of extreme weather events — but not all of them.
It’s not uncommon for insurance providers to list exclusions for flooding, earthquakes, and wildfires. Be sure to read the fine print, especially if you live in an area that’s prone to natural disasters!
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