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Tornado Damage and Home Insurance Explained

WRITTEN BY: Mark Romero


If you live in an area prone to tornadoes, you might be wondering if your home insurance covers tornado damage. The answer is, maybe. In some cases, you actually need a specific endorsement for tornado damage to be covered. Learn what tornado insurance is, why it’s separate from your standard home insurance policy, and whether you need it.

Does Home Insurance Cover Tornado Damage?

Tornado insurance covers any wind damage that comes from an actual tornado. Sometimes home insurance policies cover windstorms, high winds, and hail, but not tornados. Because of this, it’s important to review the named and excluded perils on your home insurance policy.

If tornados are listed as an excluded peril or not included as a named peril, depending on your policy, you aren’t covered. To get coverage, you need to add a tornado insurance endorsement to your current coverage. 

What happens if a tornado destroys your house?

If a tornado destroys your home and you have tornado coverage on your insurance policy, you need to file a claim with your insurance company. Filing a claim begins the claims process, which helps you get your home repaired as soon as possible.

Deductibles and limits on tornado insurance

When you file a claim after a tornado, you must pay the deductible first before the insurance company pays anything. The deductible amount is agreed upon when you first signed up for the policy. Most policies also have maximum payout amounts for tornado insurance. 

Replacing your belongings happens in one of two ways:

  • Replacement cost coverage – helps reimburse you for the replacement of destroyed belongings with similar items 
  • Actual cash value – pays you the cash value of contents insured, but it factors in depreciation.

Does my personal property coverage apply to tornado damage?

Personal property insurance. replaces the belongings in your home in the event of a loss. As long as a tornado is a covered loss, your insurance coverage would pay to replace any damaged items. 

Personal property coverage within tornado insurance is typically set at a percentage of the dwelling coverage. For example, if you are insured for $300,000 and you have a personal property percentage of 70%, you will be covered for $210,000 for your personal belongings. However, your belongings are divided into different categories and these categories typically have maximum payout amounts. You need to make sure you have enough coverage within each category so your personal property is completely covered.

What Doesn’t Tornado Insurance Cover?

Tornado insurance typically covers:

  • Dwelling coverage – The physical structure of your home, sheds, barns, or decks.
  • Personal property coverage –  Personal belongings that were damaged or destroyed.
  • Loss of use coverage – If your home is destroyed, it covers the cost of hotels, food costs, laundromats, etc.

Tornado insurance is typically covered under your home insurance, but you may need extra coverage if you live in an area with lots of tornados. Therefore, it’s important always to check your policy or speak with an agent about any add-ins you need on your insurance to protect you against tornado damage.

Does my Loss of Use coverage apply to power outages from bad weather?

The Loss of Use portion of your tornado insurance helps out with costs involved if you cannot live in your home due to a tornado.

If the only thing that you are experiencing is power outages without any other physical damage to your home, that will not be covered under tornado insurance. Power outages are widespread in the United States due to bad weather, so it’s not something that is covered under insurance.

Does tornado insurance cover damage caused by flooding?

Flooding can occur due to a tornado, but it’s important to know that tornado insurance generally does not cover flood damage. Your policy protects against wind damage from the tornado but not flooding. If that is a concern for you, it is possible to purchase separate flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Your tornado insurance may offer some protection if water gets into your home because the wind damaged your roof, but that’s something you have to check with your policy.

Does tornado insurance cover damage caused by falling trees?

Whether damage from fallen trees is covered under your tornado insurance depends on your policy. Unfortunately, not all policies will cover this damage, so it’s essential to check with your provider. For example, if the tree fell on your car because it was already rotting, it’s unlikely that the damage would be covered by tornado insurance.

Choosing the Right Tornado Insurance

Homeowner’s insurance generally includes damage from the wind as part of your coverage. But there are steps to take to ensure that you have the coverage you need:

  • Read your policy – Reading your policy and knowing your coverage will ensure that you don’t get in any sticky situations.
  • Talk to an agent – If you are unsure about whether your policy covers tornado damage, talk to an agent.
  • Add extra coverage – Extra covers such as flood damage might be something you want to add to your coverage to cover your bases.

How to choose the right home insurance coverage for tornado damage

To make sure your home insurance policy covers tornado damage, you need to read your policy. If you see Tornado listed as a named peril, your policy covers tornado damage. If it isn’t listed or it’s listed under Excluded Perils, tornado damage isn’t covered and you should start getting quotes for tornado insurance.

How much does tornado insurance cost?

Tornado insurance is typically part of your homeowner’s insurance, so the cost depends on the amount of home insurance you currently carry. Factors that determine the cost of insurance are the cost of your home, how much property coverage you need, and whether you live in a tornado-prone area. If you are required to add tornado insurance to your existing policy, extra costs will be involved.

How to prepare your home for possible tornado damage

There are steps to protect your home if you live in a tornado-prone area. By securing your home ahead of time, you can prevent damage from a tornado.

  • Reinforce your roof
  • Replace/reinforce your windows
  • Secure cabinet doors
  • Attach large pieces of furniture like bookshelves to the wall

Tornado Insurance FAQs

Does renter’s insurance cover tornado damage?

If you don’t own the property, your insurance will not cover the physical structure (that falls on the landlord). Your insurance would, however, cover personal property that was damaged or destroyed.

Does homeowner’s insurance cover tornado damage?

Typically, yes. It’s important to check your policy to make sure you have enough coverage for tornado damage. 

Is insurance more expensive in Tornado Alley?

A lot of factors come into play that determines how expensive your tornado insurance is. If you live in Tornado Ally then you are likely to pay a higher premium because you are at a greater risk of catastrophic weather events.

Is tornado insurance required by my state?

There is no state-by-state requirement for tornado insurance. But if you live in a tornado-prone area you will want to protect your home and belongings.

Does tornado insurance cover flooding from rain?

No. Flooding is not covered under tornado insurance. You can however get extra flood coverage added to your policy. 

Finding the Best Tornado Insurance

It’s important to have the proper coverage when living in tornado-prone areas. Get multiple home insurance quotes to find the coverage you need for a great price. 

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