Which Natural Disasters Does Homeowners Insurance Cover in Kansas?

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The most common Kansas natural disasters are tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, flooding, and landslides. Your homeowners insurance will cover wind, lightning, and hail damage, but you’ll need separate policies for flooding and landslides.
Some natural disasters are covered by standard homeowners insurance, while others require separate policies. It can be overwhelming when half of the most common disasters in your state require individual policies, as flooding and landslides do in Kansas. 
But not to worry, home and car insurance super app Jerry can help you figure out how to get all the coverage you need for Kansas natural disasters.
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What is homeowners insurance—and what does it cover?  

Homeowners insurance protects your home and belongings in the event of a destructive occurrence, such as a natural disaster. Coverage also includes insurance for loss of use, liability, and medical payments, but lower levels of homeowners insurance are limited in their scope.

Levels of homeowners insurance coverage

HO-1: An HO-1 is the most basic type of homeowners insurance policy. It only covers the structure of your house against a limited number of named perils. An HO-1 is so limited, it usually won’t qualify as sufficient insurance for mortgage lenders.
HO-2: The next level is the HO-2. Similar to the HO-1, it has a named perils list, but it also protects your personal property in addition to the structure of your house.
HO-3: The most common homeowners insurance policy is the HO-3 policy. These cover the main structure of your home, additional structures (like a greenhouse or a garage), and any personal property inside the home. An HO-3 usually includes loss of use, liability, and medical payments coverage, too.
Known as an all-risk or open perils policy, an HO-3 covers any peril except those listed as excluded. However, this only applies to the main structure of your home. Your personal property and outbuildings are still only protected against named perils at the HO-3 level.
HO-5: The HO-5 is an all-risk gold standard of homeowners insurance, covering your home and your personal belongings as open perils. The one downside is the cost—the HO-5 policy provides the highest level of protection, but it’s also the most expensive.
If all this info is boggling your mind, take a look at the breakdown below.
Policy typeWhat’s coveredOpen perils?
HO-1Main structure onlyNamed perils only
HO-2Main structure, personal property, loss of use, liability, medical paymentsNamed perils only
HO-3Main structure, personal property, loss of use, liability, medical paymentsMain structure - open perils, personal property - listed perils only
HO-5Main structure, personal property, loss of use, liability, medical paymentsYes

What perils are covered by homeowners insurance?

If your insurance policy is an HO-3 or lower, you have a list of named perils. These can vary slightly depending on your location and your insurer, but you can usually expect coverage for the following 16 named perils:
  • Hail and windstorms
  • Lightning
  • Fire and smoke
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Explosion
  • Riot or civil commotion
  • Damage caused by vehicles 
  • Damage caused by aircrafts
  • Vandalism 
  • Theft or malicious mischief
  • Weight of snow, ice, or sleet (not usually covered by HO-1)
  • Frozen pipes (not usually covered by HO-1)
  • Falling objects (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)
It’s important to note what isn’t on the list. In Kansas, two of the most common and destructive natural disasters are flooding and landslides, and neither is covered by homeowners insurance.
Key Takeaway Your policy level determines how much homeowners insurance coverage you have against what types of damage. 

Does home insurance cover natural disasters in Kansas? 

Insurance Journal ranks Kansas #6 as the highest risk state for natural disasters. This is partly due to the frequency of tornadoes and the regular occurrence of severe thunderstorms. Kansas also experiences heavy flooding, which often leads to destructive landslides.
Let’s take a closer look at natural disasters and homeowners insurance in Kansas.

Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms happen frequently in Kansas, with the most violent storms occurring in spring and summer. Multi-cell storms can go on for hours accompanied by lightning, rain, and winds over 80 MPH.
Storms in Kansas and the surrounding states are unique because they generate lots of hail—sometimes producing hailstones the size of softballs! These large balls of ice can cause a lot of damage to your home and property. The good news is that homeowners insurance will usually cover it.
Does homeowners insurance cover storm damage? Typically, yes. Homeowners insurance covers damage from wind, lightning, and hail.

Tornadoes

Kansas is also ranked #6 on the US Tornado index, experiencing an average of 88 tornadoes per year. These storms are costly and dangerous, causing around $2.5 million in damages per tornado.
Generally speaking, tornadoes are not named specifically by homeowners policies, but wind, hail, lightning, and falling objects are. Since these are the most common causes of damage during a tornado, you’re usually covered.
Does homeowners insurance cover tornado damage?: Usually, yes. Homeowners insurance covers the most common causes of tornado damage.

Flooding

Kansas experiences several types of flooding.
Flash flooding is the rapid flow of high water into a normally dry area, and it’s caused by an event like heavy rainfall—common during Kansas thunderstorms. River flooding also happens in some parts of Kansas, and it occurs when rivers overflow their banks.
While they can be some of the most destructive natural disasters in Kansas, floods are not covered by homeowners insurance. To protect your home, you must buy a separate flood insurance policy. These are available through the National Flood Insurance Program or a private insurer.
Does homeowners insurance cover flooding? No, never. You’ll need a separate policy to cover flood damage. 

Landslides

A landslide occurs when earth, rock, or debris moves down a sloped section of land. This may sound mild, but it’s anything but. Landslides in the US cost up to $4 billion per year, putting them among the most costly natural disasters, according to the American Geosciences Institute
Landslides, like flooding and earthquakes, are not covered by homeowners insurance policies. While they are considered a “movement of the Earth” like earthquakes, they’re not covered by earthquake insurance. They’re usually caused by water erosion, but they’re not covered by flood insurance, either.
So if you live in Kansas where landslides are common, how do you get coverage for your home? You’ll have to buy a Difference in Conditions (DIC) policy.
A DIC policy is designed to fill in gaps in traditional homeowners coverage. You can use it to cover earthquakes, flooding, landslides, and more, rather than buy individual coverage for disasters your normal policy doesn’t cover.
While most homeowners don’t feel the need for a DIC policy, it can be a good idea if you live in an area prone to landslides because no other policy provides coverage for this natural disaster.
Key Takeaway Your homeowners policy will insure your home against tornadoes and thunderstorms, but you’ll need additional coverage for flooding and a DIC to protect against landslides.

How to file a home insurance claim

The process of filing a claim against your homeowners insurance can look daunting. In the event of a natural disaster, you’re probably in crisis mode and facing losses with monetary and sentimental value. Here are some steps you can follow to make the process as easy as possible:
  • Plan ahead. Keep insurance policy proof, receipts for big purchases, and other important documents in a safe, so you don’t have to hunt for them.
  • Document your losses. After the disaster, make a list of everything that was damaged. Take photos!
  • Determine how much you paid for each item you’re claiming, and write it down. 
  • Inform your insurance company that you’re submitting a claim.
  • Fill out the claim paperwork that your insurer provides. Pay attention to detail.
  • Get repair estimates from local contractors to help negotiate a fair settlement with your insurance company.
  • Meet with the adjuster to go over the claim. Your insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to review your evidence with you. Be thorough, so you get the payout you’re supposed to get.
  • Collect your funds to start rebuilding!
Right now, planning ahead is the smartest action you can take. In addition to protecting receipts and important documents before disaster strikes, study the terms of your homeowners insurance policy. If you do that, you’ll be able to file more quickly and with less frustration down the road.

How to save money on homeowners and car insurance

The 100% fail-safe way to get the best insurance price is to comparison shop. Studies from Lending Tree and the Insurance Information Institute show that 76% of Americans save money on insurance when they compare quotes first. The problem is, only 17% take the time to do it!
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