Does homeowners insurance cover tornado damage?
Last updated: January 1
Wind or hail from a tornado can quickly cause devastation to your home and belongings, and often without warning. Whether your homeowners insurance helps cover tornado damage to your home depends on where you live, the type and amount of coverage you have and what causes the damage.
Here are some things to consider about homeowners insurance and coverage for tornado damage.
Coverage for tornado damage caused by wind
Homeowners insurance typically covers certain perils, such as wind and hail.
Most standard homeowners insurance policies include dwelling coverage, which may help pay to repair or rebuild your home if wind from a tornado damages it. On the other hand, personal property coverage may help pay to repair or replace damaged or destroyed belongings that were inside your home. But, some insurance policies may exclude wind damage, so it's important to read your policy carefully to understand whether it includes coverage for wind damage.
If your policy excludes windstorm damage, it probably will not help cover the cost of repairs if your home is damaged by a tornado.
Deductibles and limits on coverage for tornadoes
Remember that when you file an insurance claim, you will likely need to pay your deductible first. This is the amount you're responsible for before an insurer will pay toward a covered claim.
It's also important to remember that limits — the maximum amount your insurance policy will pay toward a covered loss — will apply. Your local agent can help you review your coverages to determine whether your coverage limits are appropriate to help repair or rebuild your home.
When it comes to replacing your belongings, your insurer will usually reimburse you in one of two ways: for the item's actual cash value or replacement cost.
- Actual cash value coverage pays you the cash value of the contents you insured, but factors in depreciation of the item.
- Replacement cost coverage helps reimburse you for the cost of replacing a damaged item with one of similar type and quality.
You can typically choose which type of personal property coverage you'd like when purchasing insurance. If you choose replacement cost coverage, your policy premium may increase.
Tornado damage caused by flood
While tornadoes can be accompanied by heavy rain, it's important to understand that homeowners insurance policies generally do not provide coverage for flood damage. So, even if your policy offers protection against perils like wind, damage caused by flooding likely would not be covered. You may be able to purchase a separate flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program.
However, if rainwater gets into your home because your roof was damaged by wind or hail, homeowners insurance may offer some protection — but only if your policy includes coverage for these types of perils.
Tornado damage caused by trees
Tornadoes may also cause trees to fall, which can damage your house or car, as well as other people's property. Whether or not your insurer will help pay for damage caused by a fallen tree depends on your policy's coverages. For example, if wind caused the tree to topple onto your home, and your policy's covered perils include wind, you may find that your insurance company will help pay for repairs. On the other hand, if a maintenance-related issue caused the tree to fall on your home (say you neglected the tree and it was rotting), your homeowners insurance policy likely won't pay for repairs.
Most people don't expect a tornado to damage their home, but it's important to understand whether your insurance would help pay for repairs if the unexpected happens. It's a good idea to read your policy documents to understand your coverage.