There’s no question that weather patterns are getting weirder. And severe weather in unexpected places  like a waterspout in Lake Tahoe or a freak flurry of tornadoes in Iowa  can catch us off guard. In fact, in one of our recent studies, we found that the vast majority of U.S. residents have experienced at least 1 major weather catastrophe in the past 5 years. That’s why it’s always a good idea to make sure that your homeowners insurance is adequate to cover whatever comes your way.

Check out these severe weather situations and coverages that could protect you.


Is your home’s in a “high risk” area for a flood? (You’d know because it would’ve been designated so by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as part of the  National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).) If it was, then you were likely required to get flood insurance before you got your mortgage. Not sure? You can enter your address on this map to see if your property’s included.

But standard insurance policies don’t cover other flood-related damages that can occur. Like if, for example, sudden rain or snow melt overwhelms your town’s drainage systems. In that case, you’d need to have extra flood insurance to handle the claim. It’s smart to look in to, considering that flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States.

Living expenses

If you are displaced due to a severe weather event, does your insurance cover putting a roof over your head while yours is being repaired? You’ll want to make sure your policy has adequate “additional living expense coverage” to cover the cost of a hotel or other temporary lodging, in case of catastrophe.

Replacement costs

Say a hurricane wipes out the contents of your home, do you have coverage to have them replaced at today’s real prices? That’s what’s known as “replacement cost,” which means that as costs have gone up, you will be reimbursed for what the item would cost today…not when you purchased it. Of course, it helps to have a detailed home inventory of all your valuables for this type of insurance.

Storm damage

Even if your area is prone to say, occasional snow, you may not be ready for a huge storm that causes damage. And while your homeowners insurance should cover the direct damage from a storm, say wind blowing a tree into your window or heavy snow crushing your roof, it may not cover items that are deemed to stem from homeowner “negligence,” or what you, as the homeowner, are expected to do to keep your home safe in inclimate weather. That could include making sure your roof is up to par before the snow comes or that you have kept your trees healthy so they are less prone to damage.


While your home may be insured against damage, you also want to make sure that you have adequate personal liability insurance for an unexpected mishap at your home; for example, if someone slips coming up your icy driveway or if a limb falls from a tree and crashes on a car. Check to see if your policy will protect you against an unfortunate severe-weather-related personal injury.

Not sure if your insurance is up to par for severe weather or unexpected events? Now is the time to check into it. We can help you figure out what you might need for any eventuality that comes your way.

Home safety | Homeowners 101


about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.