Insurance is designed to protect you from anything that is more expensive to repair or replace than you could pay out of your own pocket. Home insurance is designed specifically to protect your home, property, and personal possessions from many different situations and events.
According to Find Law, these can include theft and fire damage, but not natural disasters.
Do You Need Natural Disaster Insurance for Your Home?
Unfortunately, quite a few natural disasters aren’t covered by basic home insurance policies. Floods, landslides, mudflows, and mudslides typically aren’t covered, nor is damage from sinkholes, wildfires, lightning strikes, volcanoes, or earthquakes. If your home is in any high-risk areas for these various potential disasters, then you might want to look into adding specific coverages to your home insurance in the event of something like these events happening on your property. Your coverage will go up, but your costs will also go up. Flood insurance is something many homeowners don’t think they need because they see text in their policies about their homes being covered for water events. However, this coverage is usually due to leaks from inside the home and not water coming in from outside due to natural flooding. Some markets have private flood insurance available, but there is also a government program available. If your home is on a flood plain, then you might want to look into this.
It’s impossible to know which specific natural disasters might impact your home in the future, but industry analysts can use historical data to predict the odds of future events. The higher your level of risk, the more you need to get yourself covered. Covering your home for natural disasters can happen in several ways. First, you can just get a specific add-on for your basic policy. Second, you can get a standalone policy, possibly even from a different carrier than the one doing your basic policy. Third, you might even be able to get coverage through an umbrella policy.
Earthquake Insurance for Utah Homes
Earthquakes are one of the natural disasters that most basic home insurance policies won’t cover, so you might need to get your own earthquake insurance if you live in Utah or other earthquake prone locations. Having earthquake insurance is of increasing importance the older your home is, especially if it was built before the turn of the century. This is because construction standards today are better than they used to be. Extremely old homes are also subject to decay and the wear down of the construction materials used.
Having basic earthquake coverage may not be enough, either. You should also look into 72-hour insurance that will cover damage from aftershocks happening up to 36 hours after a primary quake event. You might assume you can count on FEMA assistance after an earthquake, but it’s not a sure thing. They do usually step up after major disasters like the ones you see on the news, but there are many more earthquakes that don’t make the headlines that still create damage you need to recover from. Consider coverage against major and minor damages to your home and property as well as medical coverage in the event that you or your family members are injured in the event. Consider factors such as housing in the event that your home is made uninhabitable by natural desasters.
It’s All About Risk Assessment
In terms of insurance, it’s all about risk assessment. Insurance underwriters will assess your home’s level of risk of certain events when deciding whether or not to offer you particular policies or if they even will do it at all. Likewise, you have to do a risk assessment of your own when deciding whether or not you need policies for specific natural disasters. Deciding not to get a particular natural disaster coverage might mean saving money on your premiums. However, if you were to lose your home to that natural disaster, then you would not get compensated for its loss or replacement. Consider the example of wildfire insurance. If you live in rural areas of dry states in the West, such as Colorado, then a wildfire is a very real possibility and could tear through your entire neighborhood. Then again, if you live in a suburb of Seattle where there is a lot of rain and local firefighters, you might not have as much risk. Location is everything.
You can’t protect your home from everything that might ever happen. That’s one reason why you have insurance in the first place. However, you can make sure your insurance covers as much as reasonably possible, including natural disasters. However, your home insurance might only cover many natural disasters if you make sure you get the appropriate coverage in the first place.
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