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For the past 20 years, residents of Arizona have experienced an average of 3.2 natural disasters per year, with 98 major disasters hitting the state since 1953. The state’s dry climate lends a breeding ground for devastating wildfires, while severe weather conditions have resulted in floods ravaging Arizona towns.
When disaster strikes, you want to know you’ll be covered by your home insurance policy. According to the Insurance Information Institute, a significant portion of the American population is unaware of which natural disasters are covered by their insurance and which aren’t.
Home insurance policies vary greatly by company and are created to account for a particular set of risks. To break down what is and what isn’t covered by your home insurance, car, and home insurance super app Jerry has outlined all you need to know about natural disasters and homeowners insurance in Arizona.
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What is homeowners insurance—and what does it cover?
A homeowners insurance policy will cover losses and damages to an individual’s residence. Policies differ in terms of coverage levels and specific hazards covered.
Home insurance policies may include:
- Dwelling coverage
- Other structures coverage
- Personal property coverage
- Medical payment to others
- Additional living expenses
Levels of homeowners insurance coverage
HO-1: Typically the least expensive option, an HO-1 policy will cover your primary dwelling from a limited number of named perils, such as fire, lightning, and hail. An HO-1 policy does not cover personal property, loss of use, or liability.
HO-2: Covers damage to your house and personal belongings caused by the named perils mentioned on your policy.
HO-3: The most common type of coverage, HO-3 plans will cover the main structure, any auxiliary structures (like a shed), personal property, loss of use, liability, and medical expenses. An HO-3 policy is an open perils policy and will cover any peril except those explicitly not covered.
HO-5: The gold standard of coverage, the HO-5 policy, is the most comprehensive policy option and covers both your home and personal property as an open perils policy. The drawback? Increased fees for increased coverage.
For a straightforward glimpse of each policy type, check out the table below:
|Policy type||What’s covered||Open perils?|
|HO-1||Main structure only||Named perils only|
|HO-2||Main structure, personal property, loss of use, liability, medical payments||Named perils only|
|HO-3||Main structure, personal property, loss of use, liability, medical payments||Main structure - open perils, personal property - listed perils only|
|HO-5||Main structure, personal property, loss of use, liability, medical payments||Yes|
What perils are covered by homeowners insurance?
If you have a named peril insurance policy (HO-1, HO-2, or HO-3), it's important to note which perils your policy covers. You can typically expect these 16 named perils to be covered:
- Fire and lightning
- Volcanic eruption
- Riot or civil commotion
- Hail and windstorms
- Damage caused by vehicles
- Damage caused by aircraft
- Theft or malicious mischief
- Falling objects (typically not covered by HO-1)
- Weight of snow, ice, or sleet (typically not covered by HO-1)
- Water overflow or discharge from plumbing (typically not covered by HO-1)
- Water heater cracking (typically not covered by HO-1)
- Damage from electrical current (typically not covered by HO-1)
- Frozen pipes (typically not covered by HO-1)
Notice anything missing from the list? Despite being the two most frequent natural disasters in the US, floods and earthquakes are not covered by homeowners insurance.
Reviewing what your policy covers is a necessary part of responsible homeownership, especially in high-risk states like Arizona.
Key Takeaway Your home insurance coverage is determined by the type of policy you have and the precise perils listed on it.
Does home insurance cover natural disasters in Arizona?
Arizona is victim to a variety of natural disasters, primarily including floods, severe storms, and fires, none of which appear to be slowing down.
In 2020, 2,500 fires burned through nearly one million acres across the state, while the 2021 monsoon season was the second wettest on record. It’s wise to be aware of which disasters may strike your state so that you can protect yourself accordingly.
Let's examine some of Arizona's most prevalent natural disasters to discover what's covered and what isn't.
More than half of the natural disasters that have occurred in Arizona since 1953 have been fires. The state’s hot climate makes for a devastating wildfire season, with over 2,500 fires burning nearly 980,000 thousand acres in 2020.
Does homeowners insurance cover fire damage?: Yes. Fire damage is covered by all types of home insurance, from the most basic HO-1 coverage to the most expensive HO-5 policy.
Average homeowners insurance in Arizona does not cover flooding, and you’re unlikely to receive any substantial monetary assistance from the government following a flood.
However, you can purchase your own flood insurance policy through private insurance or the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federal program run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
If you qualify, FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program (IHP) can provide financial assistance and help you find housing after an issue directly caused by a disaster.
While the resulting damages aren’t covered by insurance, ground-shaking earthquakes are no stranger to Arizona.
According to the Arizona Geological Survey, a distinct seismic belt runs throughout the state with roughly 100 faults. There have been multiple events in the state wherein a 3.0 magnitude has been recorded, with an M5.0 [magnitude 5.0] occurring roughly every five years.
Having coverage in the event of an earthquake will require you to obtain a separate earthquake insurance policy that has a separate deductible from your homeowners insurance.
Earthquake insurance typically covers:
- Other structures
- Personal property
- Additional living expenses
Key Takeaway Fires and storms should be covered by your homeowners insurance, but floods and earthquakes may require additional coverage.
How to file a home insurance claim
While your home insurance policy may not cover the costs of every natural disaster, a standard policy should cover the damages associated with other unexpected home incidents.
If your personal property has been lost or damaged due to a natural disaster, follow these steps to submit a claim:
- Document your losses with photos and an inventory of damaged possessions
- Notify your insurance carrier that you intend to file a claim. They'll appoint an adjuster to go over the evidence.
- Determine how much you paid for each item (this will be much easier if you keep receipts!).
- Fill out the claim paperwork your insurer provides.
- Meet with the adjuster to examine the damage. Ensure your adjuster is aware of all damages.
- Obtain repair estimates from local contractors to assist you in negotiating a reasonable settlement.
- Collect your finances and begin the rebuilding of your home.
How to save money on homeowners and car insurance
According to the Insurance Information Institute in 2016, only 17% of homeowners examine prices online before renewing their coverage. Statistics show that 83% of homeowners could be overpaying for homeowners insurance.
Don't be one of those people! Download Jerry instead and allow the world's greatest home and car insurance comparison app to do the job for you. When you input your info, Jerry will search for affordable quotes from all of the top firms and allow you to compare rates in less than 45 seconds.
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