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When purchasing your home, buildings insurance is often required in order to gain a mortgage, but you will also need to consider contents insurance and cover for any additional items such as outdoor equipment and bicycles. However, many people do not consider what would happen in the event of a natural disaster or what you need to be covered for. With weather being more unpredictable than ever before, climate change has seen an increase in flooding, strong winds and extreme temperatures to name just a few. A natural disaster can have severe effects on your home, so it is a good idea to get an idea of what your home insurance covers you for or what you may need to consider adding to your policy.

Home insurance can be confusing with regards to natural disasters as there are a plethora of named perils as well as many that are listed as excluded from your policy. A basic insurance policy should cover you and your property for things such as fire and lightening, windstorms, explosions, riots, damage caused by an aeroplane or vehicle, smoke damage, vandalism, theft or the weight of ice or snow that can damage a roof. Frozen pipes are usually covered also, along with accidental damage from an artificially generated power surge.

However as much as that may seem extensive, most home insurance policies don’t cover many disasters at a basic level , but you may be able to purchase additional cover to protect yourself. These could include things such as earthquakes or other earth movement such as a landslide or sink hole. Surprisingly floods and mudflow is not usually covered either, and you can only usually gain flood insurance from a National Flood Insurance Program. Other water damage such as an overflow from a septic tank or sump-pump are also not covered. Your home is usually not covered from hurricanes as well, so if you live in a hurricane prone area it is very important to find out what is covered and speak to your insurance company about the possibility of adding on specific parts to your insurance policy that are relevant to you and your property.

Another thing to consider is that despite nuclear war or accidents being man made rather than natural disasters, your property is normally not covered from damage or loss incurred through anything nuclear and again you will need to discuss this with your insurance company if you have concerns. When you look at your policy you will notice you may have an ‘all risk’ or ‘names perils’ policy. Either way it is important to read over everything very carefully and find out what happens in the event of a natural disaster and what your obligations are. You can also discuss purchasing additional insurance for specific things such as earthquakes, earth movement or nuclear damage for example. When you come to purchase your home insurance cover, you need to get several quotes and compare what is included or excluded within the policy and how much it will cost to add particular cover for certain things.

by Cormac Henderson

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