Which disasters are covered by homeowners insurance?

Here's a handy guide to coverage by policy type—and what's not typically covered

Standard homeowners policies cover a wide range of potential disasters, from tornadoes to lightning strikes to winter storm damage. Policies do vary, though, so for your own peace of mind, check yours for the specific perils covered. Learn what's generally covered by each homeowners insurance policy type—and what's not.


Disaster coverage by homeowners policy type

What type of disasters are covered?

  Dwelling & personal property Dwelling Personal property  Dwelling & personal property
Perils Basic HO-1*+ Broad HO-2* Special HO-3* Special HO-3 Renters HO-4 Condo/Co-op HO-6 Modified Coverage HO-8
1. Fire or lightning x x x x x x x
2. Windstorm or hail x x x x x x x
3. Explosion x x x x x x x
4. Riot or civil commotion x x x x x x x
5. Damage caused by aircraft x x x x x x x
6. Damage caused by vehicles x x x x x x x
7. Smoke x x x x x x x
8. Vandalism or malicious mischief x x x x x x x
9. Theft x x x x x x x
10. Volcanic eruption x x x x x x x
11. Falling object   x x x x x  
12. Weight of ice, snow or sleet   x x x x x  
13.  Accidental discharge or overflow of
water or steam from within a plumbing,
heating, air conditioning, or automatic
fire-protective sprinkler system, or from
a household appliance.
  x x x x x  
14. Sudden and accidental tearing apart,
cracking, burning, or bulging of a steam
or hot water heating system, an air
conditioning or automatic fire-protective
system.
  x x x x x  
15. Freezing of a plumbing, heating, air
conditioning or automatic, fire-protective
sprinkler system, or of a household appliance.
  x x x x x  
16. Sudden and accidental damage from
artificially generated electrical current
(does not include loss  to a tube, transistor
or similar electronic component)
  x x x x x  
17. All perils except flood, earthquake, war,
nuclear accident, landslide, mudslide,
sinkhole and others specified in your
policy. Check your policy for a complete
list of perils excluded.
    x        

Disasters that are not covered

  1. Floods. Flood damage is excluded under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. Separate flood insurance coverage, however, is available for both homeowners and renters as a separate policy both from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and from a few private insurers. Learn more about flood insurance—whether you need it, how to get it, and more.
  2. Earthquakes. Earthquake coverage is available from most insurance companies as a separate policy or an endorsement to your homeowners or renters policy. Learn more about earthquake insurance.
  3. Maintenance damage. It is your responsibility to maintain your home and take reasonable precautions to protect your home from damage. Your insurance policy will not cover damage due to lack of maintenance, mold or infestation from termites or other pests.
  4. Sewer Backup. Sewer backups are not covered under a typical homeowners insurance policy, nor are they covered by flood insurance. This type of coverage must be purchased either as a separate product or as an endorsement to a homeowners policy, usually at a nominal cost. Learn more about sewers and sewer backup insurance.

Next steps: Need to settle a claim after a disaster? We're sorry—but maybe these tips will make the claims process easier for you.

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