Natural Disasters and Terror Plots: What Home Insurance Covers

hurricane insuranceThe deadly tornadoes and flooding that affected many parts of the South and Midwest in April, the tragic earthquake in Japan, and a renewed sense of concern for national security after Osama bin Laden's death Sunday underscore the importance for property owners to be ready for a worst-case scenario.

Last week, insurance companies acted quickly to send extra adjusters and mobile units into states where tornadoes touched down, and tens of thousands of homeowners have filed claims. State Farm reported that it has received nearly 24,000 housing and commercial related claims in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, as well as nearly 20,000 auto claims in Tennessee and Alabama. Total insured losses from the tornadoes last week are expected to be more than $2 billion -- a high figure for tornado damage but still low compared to damage from hurricanes and earthquakes.

"The industry remains capable and prepared logistically and financially to handle these losses," said Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute.

The cost to rebuild Tuscaloosa, Ala., alone, parts of which were completely leveled, is expected to be between $40 million and $45 million, said Steve Wells, president of the Alabama Municipal Insurance Corporation, a not-for-profit company that provides coverage for the state's municipalities. Wells said he expects more cities and towns -- many of which have been utterly demolished -- to contact the insurance company in the coming week as they get valuation on the damage incurred. The corporation sent $1 million to Tuscaloosa on Tuesday to start repairs to city infrastructure, although significant rebuilding efforts may take weeks or months to get started, Wells said.

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Joan Tyson

@ brendaktv: That’s terrible. I went through something similar a few years ago and finally decided that I had had enough of my old company’s unreliability. I heard about The Hartford through AARP ( ), liked what I heard, and switched. Best decision ever. Reasonable rates, great coverage, completely reliable. Maybe you should think about it too.

May 16 2011 at 6:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i think the people in the mid west that are flooded out need to look at "weather modification". there is a website and ranchers and farmers can contract them too do some "cloud seeding" and make it rain. seeing how this is real technology it needs to be looked into. if anyone thinks i'm kidding just type "weather modification" in a search engine and look for your self, it will take just a couple of seconds.

May 06 2011 at 9:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Remember to ask what type of coverage you're getting.on homeowners insurance. One thing you won't get (unless you ask) is flood insurance; that requires a seperate policy from FEMA, though your regular insurer will assist in completing the paperwork if you ask. Also, earthquake coverage -- esp. for breakble property) is often an add-on that insurers don't tend to bring up unless asked; it's usually pretty inexpensive. Also, beware of indoor and outdoor piping, furnaces and water heaters. there are often caveats in regular home coverage that limit or eliminate coverage on these. For example, boilers and steam generators (the expensive parts in some types of heating units) are only covered IF the cause of failure is a defect -- usually a crack. See what the limitations are and what (if anything) can be done to expand such coverage. Internal and external (esp. underground) incoming and outgoing water, sewer and gas pipes as well as damage cause by their failure are seldom covered by a general policy. Check with your utility; they often will cover these for a relatively modest monthly fee. Caveat emptor really should be our national motto!

May 06 2011 at 5:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Right on!! For the last few Months AOL has turned into Crap.

May 06 2011 at 1:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Debbie Penland !

How come the "Huffers Post" now c-o-n-t-r-o-l-s any /all subjects on "AOL" except something such as t-h-i-s???...Gotta get a new "carrier"...before they "turn me completely against the WORLD with their totally "b-i-a-s-e-d, brain-washing techniques"!

May 06 2011 at 12:28 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I had a water leak in my livingroom ceiling. Roofer checked and found several shingles missing and a problem
around the chimmeny. State Farm estamated the damage at $900. (My deductible is $1,000.) I had the entire
roof replaced at my own expense. Glad I did. When the roofers pulled the old shingles off they found two
places where the decking was rotten and would have collapsed if the roof had not been replaced to find them.
Obviously, the roof was leaking in other places unknown to me, the insurance estimator and the roofer.
State Farm -- have had them for 15+ years at this house. Never have received a dime from them on this house or the two others I have insured with them over the years. I am sure they will jack up my insurance preminums when it comes due this fall.

May 05 2011 at 10:31 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to brendaktv's comment

Drop 'em. I have the same company and as soon as I can, I'll do the same. I feel I am underinsured and just like you I was encouraged by the agent to go for $1,000 deductible. I live in the area where tornados devistated so much. Thankfully I do not fall into that category, this time. The best insurance I ever had and don't know why I dropped it, was through the Farm Bureau. They take "associates" to cover and you don't always have to live on a farm.

May 06 2011 at 4:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Does most homeowner or renters' insurance cover the RESULT of natural disaster? Such as:
earthquake causes nuclear power plant problems, such as in Japan.....

If you must evacuate because of radiation..will most insurance cover your loss and relocation expenses....?? Inquiring minds want to know....

May 05 2011 at 10:05 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

hi, don't have a undetected leak ie drain from kitchen sink and washer they won't cover it, how do you know if you have a leak if it doen't smell??? 10k later out of my pocket thing are back to normal. insurance rip off!!!!!!!!!!!!!

May 05 2011 at 9:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

"The industry remains capable and prepared logistically and financially to handle these losses," said Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute.
Suuuuureeee they are prepared. Prepared to raise your insurance rates even higher. I have been hassling with Allstate since last June over claims from a lightning strike I had. Better check just what your insurance does cover.

May 05 2011 at 7:45 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply


May 05 2011 at 7:42 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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