If you live in an area prone to natural disasters, such as hurricanes or earthquakes, it’s important to be sure your home insurance will protect you. There are several types of home insurance coverage that can help with expenses related to a natural disaster.
What Is Insurance?
Insurance is a contract between you and an insurance company. You pay a premium to the insurance company, and if you suffer a loss, they pay for your losses up to your policy limit.
The insurance industry is regulated by governments around the world because its business operations affect nearly everyone in society. In fact, most countries have laws requiring people to carry some form of liability coverage for property damage or personal injury (referred to as “liability”). This reduces the likelihood that one person will be held responsible for another’s losses due to negligence or accident.
What Is Home Insurance?
Home insurance is a contract between you and an insurance company. It protects you against loss or damage to your home and its contents, such as furniture, appliances and personal belongings. You can get insurance for your home, car and other belongings. Insurance companies offer different levels of coverage.
Advantages Of Home Insurance
Insurance can help you avoid financial loss in the aftermath of disasters. Insurance is an important way to protect your home and belongings from damage or loss. It can also help you get back on your feet after a disaster, as well as get back to normal life as quickly as possible.
Insurance may also be able to protect you from bankruptcy and foreclosure by covering the costs of repairs and replacing lost items with cash payments that give you time to recover financially.
Homeowners’ insurance usually covers you for fire and theft, but it may not protect you against natural disasters.
If you live in a house or apartment, you likely have homeowners’ insurance that should cover fire and theft. However, your coverage may be limited when it comes to other types of disasters—which is why it’s important to discuss with your insurance provider what exactly is covered in the event that a natural disaster strikes.
A natural disaster can be defined as an event caused by nature or weather that damages property and/or causes injuries or fatalities. These events are usually unpredictable and can occur anywhere at any time throughout the year. They include:
- Hurricanes/Tropical Storms (e.g., hurricanes Harvey & Irma)
- Tornadoes/Thunderstorms/Lightning (e.g., tornado in Joplin, Missouri)
- Earthquakes (e.g., earthquakes near San Francisco Bay Area & Los Angeles)
FEMA can help with expenses that your insurance doesn’t cover.
If your losses aren’t covered by insurance or other assistance, FEMA can help with:
- Temporary housing assistance in the form of grants that pay for hotel rooms or apartments.
- Disaster unemployment assistance if you were employed full-time and lost your job because of a disaster. These funds can provide up to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits at a rate based on how much you made prior to the disaster (up to $2,000 per month).
- Disaster grant funds available to individuals who have lost their homes and their belongings due to a natural disaster. They provide a one-time cash payment equal to what they would have received in benefits from an employer who was paying into FUTA taxes at the time of filing; this benefit is only available if you do not have any other federal entitlement programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Food Stamps, etc., which are counted toward this total amount. This maximum amount has been set at $5,000 since 1999 but will increase annually based on inflation until it reaches its maximum level in 2021 ($7,700); after 2021 it will remain constant unless Congress passes another law increasing it further.
Flood damage is usually covered by a separate policy. Flood insurance can be purchased from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) if you live in an area prone to flooding. If you’re not sure whether your home is in a flood zone, check with your insurer or local government agency. In some cases, you may be eligible for NFIP coverage even if you don’t live near flood-prone areas—for example, if your property is located near a river that frequently floods and threatens neighboring homes. However, even if this isn’t an option for you right now, it’s worth checking back on frequently because changes in how FEMA maps flood zones will affect the availability of coverage moving forward.
Windstorm damage is another type of natural disaster coverage that isn’t included in most homeowners’ policies. It’s a separate policy and must be purchased separately, but it covers damage from high winds, such as those that might come with a tornado or hurricane. Windstorm insurance can also cover damage caused by falling trees to your home and other structures on your property.
Earthquakes are a common natural disaster that can cause significant damage to your home, including cracks in the foundation and walls, broken doors and windows, or even collapse of the entire structure. Earthquake insurance is available to help you repair or replace your damaged property after an earthquake.
Earthquakes can also cause damage to your belongings inside your home. An earthquake with high intensity causes large panes of glass to break into sharp shards that could cut anyone who walks into them or gets too close. You may need to purchase new furniture if yours is cracked or splintered by falling objects during an earthquake; you may also need to replace flooring if it has been damaged by water leaks caused by broken pipes. Earthquake insurance covers all of this so that you have peace of mind knowing your property will be repaired as quickly as possible without costing too much money out-of-pocket
Get the right amount of coverage for your home.
Now that you’ve decided to get the right amount of coverage for your home, it’s time to figure out what that is. How much do you need? That depends on several factors, including the value of your home and your financial situation.
To determine how much coverage you need for your home, take a close look at its total replacement cost–what it would cost to replace everything in it from scratch. There’s no one-size-fits-all dollar amount here; if you own a small apartment or condo with minimal contents, then getting $50,000 worth of coverage might be fine (although check with an insurance agent first). But if you own a large house with expensive furniture and electronics–and especially if there are children living there who might destroy things during playtime—you may want upwards of $300,000 or more in coverage.
To help determine what level of protection is right for your specific situation:
- Do an inventory of all household items so that when disaster strikes there’s a record showing what was lost–this could make filing claims easier later on down the road once everything has been replaced by insurance payments
If you live in a place prone to natural disasters, it’s important to be sure your insurance policy will protect you from them.
You may be able to get help from FEMA, too. Our website has more information on what coverage to look for in your policy, and it’s always a good idea to talk with your agent about what kind of protection is right for you.
If you don’t have insurance against natural disasters, contacting FEMA can be helpful after an emergency strikes. The organization offers assistance with expenses not covered by private insurance policies—like temporary housing or food expenses following a disaster—and works closely with local authorities to determine who is eligible for these benefits.
If you live in a place prone to natural disasters, it’s important to be sure your insurance policy will protect you from them. If you don’t have the right coverage, it could leave you with expensive repairs and other expenses. By knowing what your policy covers and how much coverage it provides, as well as being aware of FEMA’s programs for disaster relief assistance, you’ll be better prepared should anything happen in your neighborhood or community.