Homeowners insurance covers some natural disasters, but you need to purchase separate policies if you want to be covered for floods and earthquakes.

In this article

What natural disasters are covered by home insurance?

There is no single insurance policy called natural disaster insurance, but home insurance policies can cover 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, hail, volcanic eruptions and some damage from tornadoes and hurricanes.

What natural disasters are not covered by home insurance?

Home insurance does not cover some natural disasters, but you may be able to buy separate 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 HO-7 HO-8
Hail and windstorm
Frozen piping x x
Flood x x x x x x x
Earthquake x x x x x x x
Landslide and mudslide x x 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 1983 and found that the number of billion-dollar natural disasters has increased by 163% in the last 20 years.

Severe storms are by far the most common type of natural disaster. Over the last 20 years there have been 135 billion-dollar natural disasters caused by severe storms. That’s a 440% increase from the previous 20 years. Cyclones (hurricanes), floods and drought are the next most common natural disasters.

Disaster type 1983 - 2002 2003 - 2022 Increase
Drought 12 17 42%
Flooding 12 24 100%
Freeze 5 3 -40%
Severe storm 25 135 440%
Cyclone 21 38 81%
Wildfire 6 15 150%
Winter storm 11 9 -18%
Total 84 221 163%

Texas has faced more major natural disasters than any other state. Over the last 40 years, Texas has had 149 natural disasters, and 111 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.

State Total events Cost
Alabama 100 $20B-$50B
Alaska 8 $2B-$5B
Arizona 31 $5B-$10B
Arkansas 83 $10B-$20B
California 45 $100B-$200B
Colorado 64 $20B-$50B
Connecticut 39 $5B-$10B
Delaware 32 $2B-$5B
Florida 74 $200B-$250B
Georgia 106 $20B-$50B
Hawaii 1 $5B-$10B
Idaho 31 $5B-$10B
Illinois 104 $20B-$50B
Indiana 83 $20B-$50B
Iowa 69 $50B-$100B
Kansas 83 $20B-$50B
Kentucky 77 $10B-$20B
Louisiana 87 $200B-$270B
Maine 15 $1B-$2B
Maryland 71 $10B-$20B
Massachusetts 36 $5B-$10B
Michigan 47 $5B-$10B
Minnesota 49 $20B-$50B
Mississippi 95 $50B-$100B
Missouri 96 $20B-$50B
Montana 32 $10B-$20B
Nebraska 54 $20B-$50B
Nevada 27 $2B-$5B
New Hampshire 18 $1B-$2B
New Jersey 59 $50B-$100B
New Mexico 35 $5B-$10B
New York 77 $50B-$100B
North Carolina 103 $50B-$100B
North Dakota 21 $20B-$50B
Ohio 84 $20B-$50B
Oklahoma 97 $20B-$50B
Oregon 39 $10B-$20B
Pennsylvania 90 $20B-$50B
Rhode Island 29 $2B-$5B
South Carolina 87 $20B-$50B
South Dakota 31 $10B-$20B
Tennessee 95 $20B-$50B
Texas 149 $200B-$340B
Utah 25 $2B-$5B
Vermont 16 $2B-$5B
Virginia 96 $10B-$20B
Washington 33 $5B-$10B
West Virginia 41 $5B-$10B
Wisconsin 51 $10B-$20B
Wyoming 28 $2B-$5B

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. Iowa has seen the largest increase in billion-dollar disasters over the last 40 years. The state had 12 major disasters between 1983 and 2002 and 54 major disasters between 2003 and 2022..

State 1983 - 2002 2003 - 2022 Increase
Alabama 29 69 138%
Arkansas 22 59 168%
Colorado 14 49 250%
Florida 26 47 81%
Georgia 27 78 189%
Illinois 20 81 305%
Indiana 17 63 271%
Iowa 12 54 350%
Kansas 15 65 333%
Kentucky 20 54 170%
Louisiana 33 52 58%
Maryland 21 49 133%
Mississippi 30 63 110%
Missouri 19 74 289%
Nebraska 11 42 282%
New Jersey 18 40 122%
New York 21 55 162%
North Carolina 31 71 129%
Ohio 24 57 138%
Oklahoma 18 76 322%
Pennsylvania 27 61 126%
South Carolina 26 59 127%
Tennessee 25 68 172%
Texas 35 111 217%
Virginia 28 67 139%
Source: Nation Centers for Environmental Information, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Earthquake insurance

Home insurance doesn't cover damage from earthquakes, but 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 experience the most earthquakes that cause damage in the U.S.

You can purchase earthquake insurance from home insurance providers. If you live in California, earthquake insurance is typically issued by the California Earthquake Authority, but you can still purchase it directly from insurance companies.

Flood insurance

A standard home insurance policy won't cover flood insurance, but it can be purchased separately. Most flood insurance policies are issued by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Flood insurance is required by the federal government if you live in a designated high-risk area and have a federally-backed mortgage.

The average cost of flood insurance is around $874 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. Private flood insurance policies also account for a very small percentage of all flood insurance policies, but they are slowly becoming more popular.

Landslides and mudslides

To protect your home against landslides and mudslides, you need a difference in conditions policy (DIC). Although earthquakes can trigger landslides and mudslides, earthquake insurance will not cover either of them.

Tornado insurance

Tornadoes can be devastating, as high winds and flying debris may compromise your home's structure. There were 1,240 tornadoes in the U.S. in 2022, 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
Mississippi 184
Texas 160
Alabama 117
Minnesota 77
Florida 73
Kansas 68
Louisiana 61
Arkansas 56
Georgia 56
Iowa 53
Source: National Weather Service


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. In certain states like Texas and Florida, wind coverage is not always included in homeowners insurance policies. In some areas, insurers may sell windstorm insurance separately from a standard home insurance policy.

States that have a high rate of hurricanes might have a hurricane deductible. A hurricane deductible is the amount you pay when you file a claim before your insurer covers the remainder, up to your policy limits. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have hurricane deductibles.

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. If you're having trouble getting home insurance, you may be able to get wildfire coverage from your state's Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan. However, FAIR Plan insurance policies don't provide extensive coverage and may cost more than a standard home insurance policy.

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.

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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