How does a natural disaster insurance claim work?

Your homeowners insurance may cover damage to your home and belongings due to a covered peril, including damage from fire, wind, hail, and lightning. Damages to your home from an earthquake or from flooding typically wouldn’t be covered by a traditional homeowner's policy. Instead, you'd need to purchase separate earthquake and flood policies, if available, on top of your homeowners policy.

4 min to read

Natural disasters and insurance

Not all natural disasters are covered by a traditional homeowners policy. To find out if the damage on your home and/or surrounding structures is covered, you'll first need to determine what caused the damage in the first place. Was it high winds? Was it a lightning strike? If so, you may be covered up to your policy's limits. But if the damage is caused by flooding water from a storm surge or from an earthquake, chances are your homeowners policy lists those perils as exclusions and won’t provide coverage.

Learn more about what constitutes a covered peril.

Does insurance cover natural disasters?

Type of natural disasterWill insurance cover it?
FloodWill insurance cover it?Likely no. Many insurers list flood as an exclusion, but an additional flood policy may help extend coverage to flooding events.
EarthquakeWill insurance cover it?Probably not. Just like flood, in some states, you may be able purchase an earthquake policy to cover earthquake damage.
TornadoWill insurance cover it?It's possible if the damage is due to high winds, hail, and/or lightning.
HurricaneWill insurance cover it?Your policy may cover damage from high winds during a hurricane, but typically won’t cover flooding from a hurricane. In some areas prone to hurricanes, you may have a separate hurricane deductible, also known as a "named storm" deductible.
WildfireWill insurance cover it?Depends on your location.

What to do after a natural disaster

Follow these steps if you've just experienced a natural disaster:

  1. Assess the situation: First make sure everyone is safe and sound, then take a look to see what damage has been done.

  2. File a claim: Take photos and video recordings as soon as possible, then call your agent or file a claim online.

  3. Get an estimate: Your insurance adjuster might be able to give you an estimate right away, giving you a clear idea of where you stand and how to move forward.

  4. Find out how your insurance coverage applies: Damage to your home and belongings may be covered by your homeowners policy, depending on the type of peril that caused the damage. Your insurance adjuster may ask you for a home inventory to help determine the amount of personal property lost.

  5. Put things back together: This phase could take a few hours or may take up to a year, depending on how bad the damage is. You may need to find housing while things get repaired, possibly making use of your loss of use coverage. which may pay for you to live elsewhere due to damage from a covered loss.

  6. Plan for next time: Now that you know what can happen when a natural disaster strikes, it's best to plan in case it happens again.

Pro tip:

Just because the storm is over doesn't mean the damage is done. FEMA's "Recovering After Disaster" guide includes health and safety guidelines, tips for returning home and rebuilding communities, as well as how you and your family can cope during recovery.

Make a natural disaster or storm damage insurance claim with Progressive

Progressive has a team of dedicated agents who specialize in natural disaster and storm damage claims. Our National Catastrophe Response Team can jump in to help whenever disaster strikes with the knowledge and experience to expedite your claim process.

New Progressive customers

Quote homeowners insurance, renters insurance or condo insurance online or call 1-855-347-3939 to get customized coverage to prepare for the unexpected, including natural disasters.

Current Progressive customers

Log in to your policy or call 1-855-347-3939 to report damage from a natural disaster and more.

Quote homeowners insurance online or call for advice

Learn more about home insurance policies.