Which Natural Disasters Does Homeowners Insurance Cover in Indiana?

Indiana is prone to storms, floods, and tornadoes—so make sure your homeowners insurance offers protection against these disasters.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Storms, floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes are likely natural disasters in
Indiana
. A standard homeowners insurance policy protects you from damage caused by wind, lightning, and hail. However, you may need additional coverage for floods and earthquakes.
Unfortunately, most people are misinformed about homeowners insurance and coverage for natural disasters. It’s even more complicated when you try to figure out what coverage is necessary in your state.
Fear not,
Jerry
is here to help. This article will cover everything you need to know about homeowners insurance and Indiana natural disasters: what’s covered, what isn’t covered, and how to file a claim. 
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What is homeowners insurance—and what does it cover?  

Your homeowners policy covers both your physical home as well as its contents. It usually includes some loss of use coverage,
liability coverage
, and medical expenses for visitors who are injured on your property.
Every policy is different. Each one has a different limit and covers different perils.

Levels of homeowners insurance coverage

HO-1: This is the most basic kind of home insurance policy (known as HO-1). It only protects your principal residence and does not cover personal items, loss of use, or liability. HO-1 insurance also restricts coverage to named perils, which are typically fire, lightning, hail, and theft.
HO-2: HO-2 is another named perils policy. However, it offers coverage for both your physical house and your personal belongings contained therein.  
HO-3: The most popular type of homeowners insurance is called an
HO-3 policy
. Your coverage includes the primary dwelling, detached structures, personal property, loss of use, liability, and medical fees. 
An HO-3 policy is an open perils policy concerning your primary dwelling. This means that your home is covered for any peril except specific exclusions. However, personal property coverage is restricted to named perils.
HO-5: For the most coverage, you should look into an HO-5 policy. You’ll get far more protection for your house and your belongings—but in exchange, you’ll pay hefty fees.  
Here’s a simplified breakdown of homeowners coverage by policy type.
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 perils policy (HO-1, HO-2, HO-3), then you are covered only for the events specifically listed in your policy. Read the details of your policy to confirm, but most policies will cover these
16 named perils
:
  • Fire and lightning 
  • Smoke
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Explosion
  • Riot or civil commotion
  • Hail and windstorms
  • Damage caused by vehicles 
  • Damage caused by aircraft
  • Vandalism 
  • Theft or malicious mischief
  • Falling objects (not usually covered by HO-1)
  • Weight of snow, ice, or sleet (not usually covered by HO-1)
  • Water overflow or discharge from plumbing (not usually covered by HO-1)
  • Water heater cracking (not usually covered by HO-1)
  • Damage from electrical current (not usually covered by HO-1)
  • Frozen pipes (not usually covered by HO-1)
At first glance, this looks like a lot of coverage. But did you notice that earthquakes and floods do not appear on this list? These are the two most common natural disasters in the country!
While a standard homeowners policy will work for most homeowners, it’s critical to know what your insurance covers. If you’re not a typical homeowner—if you live in a flood-prone state like Indiana, for example—then you may need to increase your coverage.
Key Takeaway Your homeowners 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 Indiana? 

Indiana’s most common natural disaster is flooding. In fact, flooding, storms, and tornadoes occur here at rates higher than average. Flash floods in 2008 led to the declaration of a presidential disaster zone. 
There’s also a little-known seismic zone in nearby Missouri. While there has not been a major earthquake in this area since 1812, earthquakes should still be a concern for people who live in southwestern Indiana.
So, does home insurance cover natural disasters in Indiana? Yes and no—here’s what you need to know.

Flooding

The Indiana
floodplains
are vulnerable to serious water damage. After a series of devastating floods, the Indiana Flood Control Act was passed in 1945. Now, there is a department that manages the state’s water resources,
regulates
the construction, and protects the plains.
According to FEMA, a single inch of floodwater in a home can cause up to $25,000 of damage. Today, the annual cost of flood damage nationwide is four times higher than it was 40 years ago. It gets worse—only 27% of American households have flood insurance!
Unfortunately, most flood damage is not covered by a standard homeowners policy. Windstorms are usually covered, but Indiana homeowners will need a separate flood policy for protection against flooding. 
The
NFIP
(run by FEMA) is a good place to look for a flood insurance policy.

Tornadoes

While tornadoes are less common here than in Texas, Indiana still gets an average of 22 tornadoes every year. Some of the costliest and most deadly tornadoes have occurred in Indiana—and tornadoes can occur at any time of year. 
Does your homeowners policy cover tornado damage? It’s possible. Tornadoes aren’t a specific named peril, but a standard homeowners policy will cover wind and lightning damage. Your home insurance will likely cover you if a tornado hits your Indiana home.

Earthquakes

Earthquakes are surprisingly
common
in Indiana but they don’t usually make the news. 
The last major earthquake in this area was 200 years ago, and it registered a 7.0 on the Richter scale. According to the USGS, there is a seven to 10% chance that a similar quake could occur in the next 50 years—an event that could injure thousands of people and destroy property.
Earthquakes are not covered by homeowners insurance. If you want protection against earthquake damage, you should purchase an additional policy.

Winter storms

The Hoosier State has its fair share of winter storms, and storms wreak more havoc than you might think. While Indiana’s
1978 blizzard
is most well-known, 2009 and 2011 both had epic snowstorms that resulted in ice- and snow-related injuries and property damage.
Thankfully, a standard homeowners policy covers damage caused by frozen pipes, the weight of ice and snow, and water damage caused by burst pipes after a winter storm. Wind damage is also covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy. 
Most Indiana homeowners have enough coverage for winter storms with a standard homeowners policy.

How to file a home insurance claim

Whether you live in Evansville, Elkhart, or somewhere in between, your homeowners policy will probably cover the most common disasters in Indiana. 
If your property is damaged after a natural disaster, you can submit a claim against your homeowners policy. Here’s what you need to do.
  • Document the damage. Include photos and written descriptions of each damaged item. 
  • Inform your insurance provider promptly. The company may send an adjuster to your property. 
  • Assess the value. Look at your receipts for damaged items to file for specific amounts. 
  • Complete the claim paperwork. Some companies have an online portal.
  • Meet with an adjuster to review the damage. Don’t worry about how long it takes—you need to be thorough to receive the correct compensation.  
  • Obtain estimates from contractors. If your property needs repairs, these estimates can help you ask for a decent settlement. 
  • Accept your payout. Once the funds are disbursed, you can repair the damage. 
We recommend reading through your policy now—before disaster hits—so you know what’s covered and what isn’t when SHTF.

How to save money on homeowners and car insurance

Most people are overpaying for home insurance—and that’s a fact! A study from the
Insurance Information Institute
found that only 17% of homeowners compared quotes from multiple companies before renewing. If you don’t compare rates, how will you know you’re getting a fair price?
The
Jerry
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Jerry can also help you bundle your home and auto insurance policies for savings on both! On average, Jerry users save about $887 on car insurance. That’s a good chunk of change. 
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