Homeowners insurance covers some natural disasters, like tornadoes. You can also purchase flood and other insurance policies separately.

Our comprehensive guide includes:

Do insurance companies cover natural disasters?

There is no single insurance policy called natural disaster insurance, but homeowners insurance covers several types of natural disasters. The natural disasters covered by your home insurance depend on the type of policy you have. The most common homeowners insurance policy is called an HO-3, which includes protection from fires and some damage from tornadoes and hurricanes.

Which natural disasters are not covered by home insurance?

Home insurance does not cover certain natural disasters, but you may be able to buy seperate policies for the ones that aren't covered. A standard home insurance policy doesn't cover the following natural disasters:

  • Floods
  • Earthquakes
  • Mudslides or landslides

How do insurance companies cover natural disasters?

Insurance companies do not categorize damage by the type of natural disaster, but by the peril. A peril is a hazard or event that can cause damage. For example, wind damage and flooding are both perils that can be caused by a hurricane. You may be able to add an endorsement that broadens the perils your policy covers.

Homeowners insurance typically covers wind damage, but not flooding, making wind a covered peril and flooding an excluded peril. That means your insurance doesn't cover every type of damage a hurricane can cause, but only some of the perils.

The reference table below shows the most popular home insurance policy types and the perils they cover.

Peril HO-1 HO-2 HO-3 HO-5 HO-6
Fire
Hail and windstorm
Lightning
Frozen plumbing x
Flood x x x x x
Earthquake x x x x x
Landslide and mudslide x x x x x

Most homeowners insurance policies cover damage from wind, hail, fire and lightning. Although many policies provide this coverage, they differ in the level of coverage. For instance, the HO-3 and HO-5 both protect your belongings from fire, but the HO-3 is an actual cash value policy, while the HO-5 is a replacement cost policy for your belongings.

It's important to note that homeowners insurance policies almost never cover floods or earthquakes. Many types of natural disasters can cause flooding. But because flooding is not a covered peril, your home insurance may not fully cover damage caused by some natural disasters.

States with the most natural disasters

Image of natural disasters that affect homeowners

Natural disasters are becoming more common. Our team of analysts looked at natural disasters nationwide going back to 1982 and found that the number of billion-dollar natural disasters has increased by 163% in the last 20 years.

Severe storms are the most common natural disaster; however, we also found large increases in the numbers of wildfires, floods and cyclones.

Natural Disasters in the United States
Disaster type 1982 - 2001 2002 - 2021 increase
Drought 11 17 55%
Flooding 12 22 83%
Freeze 5 3 -40%
Severe storm 22 120 445%
Cyclone 18 37 106%
Wildfire 4 15 275%
Winter storm 12 7 -42%
Total 84 221 163%
Source: Nation Centers for Environmental Information, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Texas has faced more major natural disasters than any other state. Over the last 40 years, Texas has had 137 natural disasters, 103 of them have happened in the last 20 years. Hawaii has had the fewest natural disasters. The Aloha State has had just one billion-dollar cyclone since 1981.

Natural Disasters by State 1981 - 2021
State Total events Total cost
Alabama 97 $20B-$50B
Alaska 7 $2B-$5B
Arizona 29 $5B-$10B
Arkansas 77 $10B-$20B
California 42 $100B-$200B
Colorado 57 $20B-$50B
Connecticut 37 $5B-$10B
Delaware 31 $2B-$5B
Florida 70 $200B-$250B
Georgia 98 $20B-$50B
Hawaii 1 $5B-$10B
Idaho 28 $5B-$10B
Illinois 96 $20B-$50B
Indiana 77 $20B-$50B
Iowa 63 $50B-$100B
Kansas 79 $20B-$50B
Kentucky 71 $10B-$20B
Louisiana 82 $200B-$270B
Maine 14 $1B-$2B
Maryland 66 $10B-$20B
Massachusetts 34 $5B-$10B
Michigan 44 $5B-$10B
Minnesota 38 $20B-$50B
Mississippi 89 $50B-$100B
Missouri 89 $20B-$50B
Montana 29 $10B-$20B
Nebraska 47 $20B-$50B
Nevada 26 $2B-$5B
New Hampshire 16 $1B-$2B
New Jersey 55 $50B-$100B
New Mexico 32 $5B-$10B
New York 70 $50B-$100B
North Carolina 96 $50B-$100B
North Dakota 20 $20B-$50B
Ohio 75 $20B-$50B
Oklahoma 90 $20B-$50B
Oregon 35 $10B-$20B
Pennsylvania 82 $20B-$50B
Rhode Island 28 $2B-$5B
South Carolina 81 $20B-$50B
South Dakota 28 $10B-$20B
Tennessee 90 $20B-$50B
Texas 138 $200B-$340B
Utah 24 $2B-$5B
Vermont 15 $2B-$5B
Virginia 89 $10B-$20B
Washington 29 $5B-$10B
West Virginia 40 $5B-$10B
Wisconsin 40 $10B-$20B
Wyoming 27 $2B-$5B
Source: Nation Centers for Environmental Information, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Many states have seen staggering increases in major natural disasters over the last 20 years. Nationwide, nine states have experienced a 200% or more increase in natural disasters. Kansas has seen the largest increase in billion dollar disasters over the last 40 years. The state had 16 major disasters between 1982 and 2001 and 62 major disasters between 2002 and 2021.

States with the largest increase in natural disasters
State 1982 - 2001 2002 - 2021 increase
Alabama 28 68 143%
Arkansas 23 54 135%
Colorado 12 45 275%
Florida 26 43 65%
Georgia 24 74 208%
Illinois 21 75 257%
Indiana 18 59 228%
Iowa 14 49 250%
Kansas 16 62 288%
Kentucky 20 51 155%
Louisiana 31 50 61%
Maryland 20 46 130%
Mississippi 27 62 130%
Missouri 20 69 245%
New Jersey 18 37 106%
New York 19 51 168%
North Carolina 30 66 120%
Ohio 23 52 126%
Oklahoma 20 69 245%
Pennsylvania 25 57 128%
South Carolina 27 54 100%
Tennessee 24 66 175%
Texas 34 103 203%
Virginia 27 62 130%
Source: Nation Centers for Environmental Information, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Tornado insurance

Tornadoes can be devastating, as high winds and flying debris may compromise your home's structure. There were 1,376 tornadoes in the U.S. in 2021, according to the National Weather Service. Although tornadoes are more common in some states than others, they should be a concern for all homeowners.

Because wind is a covered peril in most homeowners insurance policies, you'll typically have coverage for the damage tornadoes cause. We recommend taking a few measures to help lower your risk of experiencing severe tornado damage, including:

  • Reinforce your roof.
  • Install storm shutters.
  • Tie down objects and smaller buildings on your property.
  • Make an emergency tornado plan with your household.

States with the most tornadoes

Tornadoes can happen in almost every state, but most tornadoes occur in the Midwest and Southeast.

State Number of tornadoes
Texas 118
Alabama 100
Mississippi 92
Illinois 80
Iowa 70
Tennessee 66
Georgia 57
Kentucky 57
Nebraska 53
Louisiana 50
Source: National Weather Service

Hurricanes

Although there isn't one single insurance policy that covers damage due to a hurricane, you can get homeowners insurance, flood insurance and, in some states, windstorm insurance to protect your home against hurricanes.

Wildfires and fire insurance

Standard homeowners insurance policies cover damage from wildfires, but some insurers won't write policies in high-risk areas, occasionally making it difficult for homeowners to get protection from this natural disaster.

Wildfires aren't the only way fires can start in your home. A stray spark from a fireplace or electrical outlet can also start a house fire. Luckily, homeowners insurance typically covers fires of all types, as long as they are not the result of neglect. Your dwelling and personal property are covered in the event of a fire under a standard homeowners insurance policy.

Earthquakes

Home insurance doesn't cover damage from earthquakes. However, you can purchase a separate earthquake insurance policy to protect yourself and your home from this disaster.

We recommend purchasing earthquake insurance if you live in an area prone to earthquakes. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, California and Alaska have the most earthquakes that cause damage than any other state.

Landslides and mudslides

A standard home insurance policy doesn't cover landslides and mudslides. You can purchase a "difference in conditions" (DIC) policy to protect your home from them. A DIC policy offers protection against perils that a home insurance policy won't cover, such as landslides and mudslides.

Flood insurance

Flood insurance is a separate insurance policy from homeowners insurance. Flood insurance is required by the federal government if you live in a designated high-risk area and have a federally-backed mortgage. Even if you aren't required to have flood insurance, it's still a good idea if you want your home to be fully protected from natural disasters like hurricanes and floods.

Most people purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). NFIP policies are backed by the government but administered by private companies. Private flood insurance companies account for a very small percentage of all flood insurance policies, but they are slowly becoming more popular.

The average cost of flood insurance is around $958 a year for an NFIP policy, but rates vary depending on where you live. Because premiums are set by the government, the price does not vary among companies. Some people find cheaper coverage through a private company, but private options are more limited.

Volcanoes and tsunamis

Volcanoes and tsunamis are less common natural disasters, but they can cause a lot of damage. A standard homeowners insurance policy usually covers volcanic eruptions, but it doesn't cover damage from a tsunami. However, if you have flood insurance, it can cover flood damage due to a tsunami.

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