Will Your Home Insurance Cover Tornado Damages?


Look Out For That Twister!

The deadliest tornado in US history was the 1925 Tri-State Tornado that and tore through Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. This tornado traveled roughly 200 miles, while taking over 700 lives and injuring more than 2,000 people along the way. Since this disaster, the government has better educated those in tornado-frequented areas, and communities have worked together to build stronger homes and sound evacuation plans. In case of tornado, be sure to take care of you and your loved ones first. Your home insurance will take care of the rest. When it’s all clear, check up on your property. Despite how sturdy you believe your home to be, it will probably have taken on some damage.

SEE ALSO: Home Insurance Advice: Mudslides, Landslides, And Getting It All Covered

Which Policy To Buy

In the aftermath of a Category 5 tornado, will your standard home insurance policy cover the damages? Yes. You don’t need to buy a special tornado policy for your home. Most basic property insurance policies cover the damages caused by certain instances called “named perils.” Those named perils include:
  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Windstorm
  • Hail
  • Explosion
  • Riot
  • Damage caused by airplane, vehicle, or falling object
  • Smoke
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Ice, snow, or sleet
  • Certain water overflow situations
  • Freezing
  • Power surge
Although not explicitly stated, tornadoes are windstorms. This means that your basic home insurance policy covers the damage from a tornado.

The Fine Print

If you’re at risk of tornadoes, then you most likely have an increased danger of floods and fires as well. The list of named perils leaves out the following situations:
  • Earthquake
  • Floods
  • Certain water overflow situations
  • Hurricanes
  • Nuclear accidents
Damages caused by the above situations are not covered by your basic home insurance policy. Natural disasters have a habit of showing up in groups. Tornadoes tend to break pipes and tear down electrical lines as it churns through your neighborhood. Although your basic home insurance covers damages done by wind, you will have to purchase separate policies for floods and fire.

SEE ALSO: Home Insurance Advice: Why You Need Umbrella Insurance

Areas Most Prone To A Twister

Who needs to worry about tornadoes? Those in Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas live in Tornado Alley, an area prone to tornadoes. Of the Tornado Alley states, Oklahoma is the most threatened. Oklahoma is also known for being victim of a 302mph tornado—this was the fastest, recorded tornado of all time. Tornadoes generally appear in the late spring or early fall in this area. Although not in conjunction with the alley, Florida is also considered a high-risk area for tornadoes.  Florida’s disaster season occurs during the spring and summer. Tornadoes that spawn during the spring are more likely to be stronger due to the high number of rotating thunderstorms and cold fronts that appear at this time. If you live in a high-risk area, then you should take extra precautions. Here are a few tips to reduce the potential damage:
  • Trim your trees. If there are any loose branches or shrubbery, cut it down before the wind blows it into your house.
  • Get rid of loose rocks and gravel. The weakest tornado can reach speeds up to 85mph, and easily make rocks airborne.
  • Watch the news. If there are tornado predictions for your area, take a moment to clean up your yard of all potential projectiles. Put your trashcans, rakes, and sprinklers in the garage, and out of the open air.

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