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Does Home Insurance Cover Tornado Damage?

By Jarrod Heil

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Year after year, tornadoes are among the most costly home insurance claims filed. When you consider that more than 1,000 tornadoes form in the United States each year — from Oklahoma’s Tornado Alley to Florida’s hurricane-spinoff tornadoes — tornado claims are also among the most common home insurance claims filed as well.

Tornadoes are quick-hitters, lasting about five minutes per incident, but they swirl as speeds of nearly double that of hurricanes.

When you consider the amount of damage caused by tornado’s winds and projectiles caught up in its spinning funnel, and you couple that with hail and torrential rainfall, tornadoes can be devastating to people’s lives and their homes.

You’re probably wondering does home insurance cover tornado damage? And what kind of tornado coverage can you expect from your home insurance? Let’s take a look at those questions and more as we break down the damage and recovery.

Does Home Insurance Cover Tornado Damage?

Yes, home insurance typically covers tornado damage to your home, personal property and other structures on your property. Many homeowners policies will pay to repair or rebuild your home and replace your personal belongings if they sustain tornado damage. Your home insurance policy’s loss of use coverage will also work to reimburse you for additional living expenses if the tornado causes extensive damage and you’re forced to temporarily move out of your home.

Tornado damage is often classified as either wind or hail damage, which is among the 10 named perils under many homeowners insurance policies, so your home insurance policy should cover the following things. However, it’s always a good idea to consult your agent if you sustain damage and need to file a claim.
 
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Dwelling Damage Caused by Tornadoes

If a tornado indirectly impacts your home, such as knocking a tree onto your home or throwing a projectile through your roof, or directly impacts your home, such as destroying your home’s roof or siding, the dwelling portion of your homeowners insurance policy will likely kick in and help pay for the damages up to your policy’s maximum.

Dwelling coverage helps pay for damage sustained to your home’s structure and many other things that make it, like the roof, ceiling, flooring, windows and doors. If your home is completely destroyed by a tornado, your homeowners insurance policy will enact either its replacement cost or market value coverage to help pay to rebuild your home.

Since dwelling coverage is only found in homeowners insurance, condo insurance and landlord insurance policies, renters don’t have to worry about it.
 
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Personal Property Damage Caused by Tornadoes

Your personal property is also covered by tornado damage if one of the former scenarios apply for direct or indirect damage. This portion of your home insurance policy is called Coverage C or personal property insurance

Personal property coverage protects your personal belongings like TVs, clothes, furniture, electronics and many other things if tornadoes damage or destroy them. It’s found in all home insurance policies, so it’s extremely wise to keep a home inventory and make sure you have enough insurance to protect all your belongings.

Similar to dwelling coverage, personal property converge pays out on a basis of actual cash value or replacement cost coverage. The former takes depreciation into account while the latter coverage will reimburse you the exact cost you paid for your items.
 
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Loss of Use Tornado Coverage

One of the most underrated portions of home insurance is loss of use coverage. If your home (whether it’s owned or rented) is damaged or destroyed by a tornado or many other perils and you’re forced to temporarily move out while repairs are being made or the home is being rebuilt, loss of use coverage can reimburse you for additional living expenses you wouldn’t have otherwise incurred.

These expenses are things like renting a home or booking a hotel of equivalent value and size, food expenses due to the need to eat out, gas costs from longer commutes, storage fees to house your personal belongings that weren’t damaged and even pet boarding expenses if your furry friends can’t come to your temporary home.
 
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Flood Damage Caused by Tornadoes

Tornadoes are often accompanied by torrential rains, which can cause nearby bodies of water, like rivers and ponds, to overflow and flood your home. Unfortunately, flood damage caused by tornadoes is not covered by your home insurance policy. Instead, you’ll need to purchase flood insurance to protect your home.

Flood insurance is relatively affordable for the amount of coverage you get. Although it’s not required by law, many homes in the United States are now located inside designated flood zones, which means they’re likely to sustain at least one flood every 100 years — but many homes sustain way more than that.
 
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Understanding Your Tornado Coverage Limits and Deductibles

As with any home insurance policy, it’s imperative that you maintain sufficient coverage to protect your home, personal belongings and financial wellbeing in the event of a disaster. If you’re a homeowner who has a $250,000 home, you’ll need to have $250,000 worth of dwelling coverage.

If you have $30,000 in personal belongings, you’ll need to have $30,000 worth of personal property coverage to protect your belongings. It’s also crucial that you understand your home insurance deductible, which is the amount of money you must pay toward a claim before your home insurance kicks in and picks up the remaining amount up to your policy’s maximum.
 
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