In 2019, there were over 1,400 tornadoes reported in the U.S. While tornadoes can happen virtually anywhere in the country, they tend to be concentrated in certain regions. In fact, the central part of the U.S. is nicknamed “tornado alley” because of the prevalence of tornadoes there.
If you’re a homeowner, having tornado insurance is extremely important if you live in an area where tornadoes are common. Between 1997 and 2016, tornadoes accounted for nearly 40 percent of all insured catastrophe losses.
Tornadoes can cause severe damage to your property and personal belongings, so make sure you have the proper home insurance coverage before a natural disaster happens. Without enough coverage, you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket to repair or rebuild your home after a tornado hits.
The top 10 worst states for tornadoes
According to the National Weather Service and the Insurance Information Institute, the top 10 states with most tornadoes in 2018 were:
- Louisiana: 86
- Iowa: 84
- Mississippi: 68
- Illinois: 64
- Alabama: 52
- Texas: 52
- Florida: 48
- Missouri: 48
- Kansas: 45
- Kentucky: 41
Does homeowners insurance cover tornadoes?
Most basic homeowners insurance policies cover tornado damage and extreme windstorms. It will also cover damage from fallen trees that are blown over onto your home during a storm. Because of that, a majority of people will not need to purchase a separate policy for tornado insurance.
Standard homeowners insurance policies include hazard insurance, which is the part of the insurance which will replace the structure and contents of a home in case of a natural disaster. Hazard insurance also covers medical bills and potential legal bills if someone is injured at your property.
However, your home insurance policy might not offer enough coverage if you live in one of the worst states for tornadoes. People living in states where tornadoes are common should consider purchasing an add-on policy for tornado insurance. You’ll get a higher coverage limit, which is important if the structure of your home or personal belongings sustain damage after a storm. In the end, having tornado insurance can save you a significant amount of money if you have to rebuild your home.
In addition to heavy winds, tornadoes often cause floods. Unlike tornado and wind damage, flood damage isn’t included as a part of homeowners insurance. If you need flood insurance based on where you live, you’ll need to purchase it through an insurance agent or an insurer that participates in the federally backed National Flood Insurance Program
If you rent your home, you don’t have to worry about getting tornado coverage. Your renters insurance policy covers your personal belongings from extreme windstorms, which includes damage from tornadoes. However, renters in high-risk areas should consider getting flood insurance to protect the items in your home or apartment.
Protecting your home from tornadoes
In addition to making sure you’re covered by your home insurance in the event of a tornado, these tips can help you physically safeguard your home and belongings:
- Strengthen your garage by reinforcing it with vertical bracing
- Reinforce your roof with hurricane clips
- Secure your windows with plywood and clips
- Remove branches and trees that are on the verge of breaking
- Keep important paper records in a secure location away from home
- Invest in a storm-proof safe room
- Prepare a home inventory of your belongings
Frequently asked questions
Does regular homeowners insurance cover tornadoes?
Yes, most homeowners insurance policies cover damage from windstorms and tornadoes. If you live in an area where tornadoes are common, consider purchasing an add-on policy for tornado insurance. A tornado insurance policy will give you a higher coverage limit, so if you have to repair or rebuild your home after a storm, you’ll get more money from the insurance company.
Does tornado insurance cover floods?
No, tornado insurance does not cover floods, and neither does your homeowners insurance policy. If you live in an area that is prone to tornadoes or heavy rain, you should consider purchasing flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.
Does tornado insurance cover my car?
No, you don’t need a separate tornado insurance policy to cover your vehicle. Your auto insurance policy covers your car from any type of wind damage, which includes tornadoes. It would also cover your car if a tree fell on top of it, or it was damaged by storm debris.