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Will My Home Insurance Cover a Tornado?

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Unfortunately, a tornado can hit any home at any time – whether you have adequate warning or not. Since even a relatively weak tornado has the power to do substantial damage to your property, it’s wise to learn what kind of tornado damage your home insurance policy will cover and what you’ll likely have to pay for yourself.

What insurance covers

In most cases, a tornado is considered a wind event for insurances purposes. This means that the typical policy will likely include damage made to your property by strong winds, flying debris and hail. Of course, policies in some parts of the country do specifically exclude tornados from their sphere of coverage, so always read the fine print and check with your insurance agent if you have specific coverage questions.

Assuming that tornado damage is covered under your policy, you’ll have separate coverage limits for your home and its contents. In some cases, you may also have loss of use coverage, which could help your family cover the costs of alternative housing while your property is under construction for repairs.

Common exclusions

It’s important to remember that tornado coverage usually only extends to the portion of the damage covered by the wind and hail, not necessarily the water damage created by area flooding. So, while your insurer would pay to replace a window that was broken by tornado debris, it won’t always cover the cost of water damage caused by the rain the broken window allowed inside. Since insurance policies can vary by carrier, your agent is the best source of information regarding what your policy will actually cover.

Vehicles are another common exclusion, even though a relatively small tornado can still demolish them. If you have comprehensive coverage as part of your auto policy, it can help you pay for repairs to your car or a replacement when your home insurance carrier is unable to.

Buying a separate policy

While tornados, strong winds and hail are commonly covered by home insurance policies, this may not be the case when you live in a coastal community that’s regularly hit by the tornados spawned by hurricanes and tropic storms. In order to receive any sort of compensation in the event of a tornado, you may find it necessary to purchase a separate storm policy to cover tornados and hurricanes.

If you’re concerned about the flooding a powerful storm system can bring – and the damage it will create – purchasing a separate flood insurance policy, when available in your area, can give you the peace of mind that your home is covered in the event of severe weather.

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