A tornado can strike your home without warning, causing devastation to your home; their spontaneous appearance is a big part of what makes them so dangerous. Tornadoes can bring with them hail, rain, thunder, and lightning, though they do not always bring these conditions with them, and their force is strong enough to leave a path of destruction in their wake. If this happens to you, you may be wondering what your insurance company will cover.
Getting Insurance Coverage
Insurance companies generally do not require a separate part of the policy to cover tornadoes, unlike hurricanes and flooding. Tornadoes can have winds up to 250 mph, can be over a mile wide, and can travel up to 50 miles. Those whose homes are in this path of destruction often lose most, if not all, of their homes and belongings, so making sure you have enough coverage is vital to helping you recover from your loss.
Homeowners insurance usually covers perils like wind and hail, which is where the bulk of the damage comes from in a tornado. Make sure your insurance policy covers both dwelling coverage, to help rebuild your home, and personal property coverage to help you replace lost belongings. Double check your insurance policy to ensure it covers windstorm damage, if it excludes that, you may not be covered if your home is damaged by a tornado.
Homeowner’s insurance policies do not usually cover flooding. Since tornadoes are often accompanied by heavy rain, if your home floods, you may not be covered.
If your home gets flooded by your roof being damaged and rainwater coming in through the roof, you may have some coverage, if your policy covers this under perils.
When faced with 250 mph winds, a lot of trees are going to go down. If your home is damaged by a tree during a tornado, your insurance may cover it, depending on the health of the tree. For a healthy tree that was toppled by the wind, your insurance should help pay for some of the damages. However, if the tree was old and rotting and should have been cut down ages ago, your insurance policy is not likely to cover that damage.
How Much Coverage Do You Need?
Make an inventory of the contents of your home and how expensive it would be for you to replace everything. If your home has a lot of expensive electronics, or you own anything like collectibles or artwork, you may need to purchase extra coverage to cover those losses.
An easy way to take an inventory of your home is to walk through and record everything in every room, and take stills of each room as well, then save it to a cloud, where it will still be accessible if you do lose everything. This will help you prove your ownership of the items when you file an insurance claim. Update this recording every few months as you acquire new things.
If you live in an area where tornadoes are common, you may want to get replacement value insurance coverage; it costs a little extra, but it will reimburse you for the total cost to replace what was lost, instead of at a depreciated value.