Home insurance in Pennsylvania is a contract policy purchased to secure properties and personal possessions against unplanned and unavoidable events. Pennsylvanians are not required to own a residential insurance policy by law. However, it is often a prerequisite for obtaining loans from mortgage lenders. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) also permits mortgage lenders to charge homebuyers without a valid insurance policy for force-placed homeowners insurance. Generally, home insurance is a collective term for insurance policies like:
Mobile home insurance
Liability coverage insurance
If you own or rent a property in Pennsylvania, you should consider home insurance a necessity, not a luxury. Unplanned events like property crimes, explosions, lightning, and fire outbreaks can result in financial loss and damages to your building and personal belongings. Also, personal liability, which occurs when other people suffer injuries in your home can lead to out-of-pocket medical bills or legal fees if they sue you. You can avoid these financial losses by buying a home insurance policy from a licensed Property and Casualty (P&C) insurance provider. Pennsylvania P&C insurers are licensed by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department (PID) and are obligated to pay insurance claims submitted by insureds, provided such claims are as stipulated in their policy contracts. Over the past 10 years, home insurance companies in the Keystone State have consistently paid out more than 1 billion dollars to settle home insurance claims.
It is important to contact a knowledgeable P&C insurance agent in Pennsylvania before buying residential property insurance coverage. The state’s insurance department also provides basic resources on how to find licensed agents or file insurance-related complaints.
Pennsylvanians need residential property insurance to cover financial losses caused by unforeseen damage done to their buildings and personal belongings. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has more than five million housing units, according to the latest statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. While 69% of these houses are owner-occupied, the rest are tenant-occupied homes.
Pennsylvania houses are often at risk of common perils like vandalism, theft, and fire disasters. According to a 2016 report from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, 32.6% of all crimes in the state involved vandalism and property thefts. The risk of owning or renting a home is even higher in populated counties like Philadelphia and Delaware, which have more housing units and higher rates of property crimes. Home insurance can pay for losses suffered in a vandalized building and other structures damaged by similar property crimes. Personal belongings like jewelry, furniture, home appliances, and clothes affected by these perils are also covered under residential property insurance.
Residential property insurance in Pennsylvania also provides liability coverage against personal injuries, bodily harm to visitors, and can pay legal fees if someone sues you for sustaining an injury on your property. For instance, if a guest trips over the stairs, your residential property policy can pay for the medical expenses incurred for treating them.
Home insurance is also important for times when residents are forced out of their homes due to fire outbreaks or other natural disasters in Pennsylvania. Insureds can include additional living expenses coverage to their home insurance policy to cover hotel and feeding fees when staying temporarily away from home while repairs are ongoing in their homes or apartments. Note that home insurance does not include damages caused by floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes.
Lastly, with approximately 30% of homeowner occupied dwellings in Pennsylvania paid off, the remaining 2.8 million homes are financed and the mortgage lender always requires insurance coverage to protect the bank if something happens with their investment.
In Pennsylvania, property and casualty (P&C) insurers provide residential property insurance for homeowners, landlords, and renters, while the Pennsylvania Insurance Department (PID) regulates their activities to ensure they charge fair premiums and maintain insurance insolvency. Several P&C insurers are springing up in the Commonwealth, which is why residents should evaluate insurance providers carefully. In 2020, the Insurance Information Institute (III) recorded a total of 152 domestic P&C insurance providers in Pennsylvania. Altogether, these companies offered more than $26 billion worth of direct premium written.
Considering the financial strength of a home insurance company is an important aspect when buying a home insurance policy. Independent rating agencies like AM Best and Fitch help individuals assess insurance providers to know if they are capable of paying insurance claims if the unexpected happens. A P&C insurance agent licensed by the PID can make the process of buying residential property insurance seamless in Pennsylvania. They have a good understanding of how home insurance works and the right policies that best fit their clients’ needs.
Insurance agents in Pennsylvania can be independent agents representing several insurers or captive agents representing one P&C insurer. While independent agents provide multiple insurance quotes from the companies they represent, captive agents offer in-depth information on different home insurance policy options provided by only one insurance provider. Payment of home insurance premiums is the next step after choosing a suitable policy. Depending on the home insurance company, people can pay premiums yearly, monthly, or quarterly.
Only individuals with an active residential property insurance policy can file a claim in Pennsylvania. However, some policies might require you to file a claim within a certain time frame. This information will be included within the policy document. Generally, insurance companies in Pennsylvania are required under Title 31, Chapter146.5(a) of the Pennsylvania code to respond within 10 business days to claims received. The insurance company will begin investigation into the insured's claim and should complete this investigation within 30 days after receiving the claim application. Generally, a licensed and knowledgeable P&C insurance agent can provide more answers regarding how residential property insurance works in Pennsylvania. They can also help you choose a suitable and affordable home insurance policy.
There are different types of residential property insurance, depending on the type of building and ownership status. Basically, home insurance coverage types include property and liability insurance. The major types of residential property insurance in Pennsylvania include:
Mobile Home insurance
Under Pennsylvania home insurance, property insurance protects your house and personal belongings against certain perils, natural or man-made. Covered perils include vandalism, burglary, volcanic eruptions, fire, and windstorms. With property insurance, you can repair damages done to your residential building or replace personal belongings stolen/vandalized without paying out of pocket.
Apart from a primary dwelling, property insurance in Pennsylvania covers detached structures such as fences, garages, tool sheds, and guest cottages. In home insurance, your property policy type and coverage is determined by the ownership status of your residence. The following are the common types of residential property insurance in Pennsylvania:
Homeowners, who occupy 69% of the total homes in Pennsylvania, need a homeowners insurance policy to protect their building and personal belongings from harm. In Pennsylvania, there are five types of homeowners insurance coverage depending on the type of covered perils and what is covered:
Homeowners Basic Form (HO-1): The basic form covers losses or damage caused by limited covered perils. Examples of covered perils include fire, explosion, vandalism, lightning, theft, hail, windstorm, riot (or civil unrest), non-flood water damage, and collision with a vehicle or aircraft. HO-1 policy excludes content coverage. Homeowners who own properties not eligible for more comprehensive coverage due to the building’s age or location may choose HO-1 policy as a last resort
Homeowners Broad Form (HO-2): The broad form policy covers more perils than the HO-1 policy. Additional named perils include falling objects, electrical malfunctions, household equipment, and the weight of ice/snow. The HO-2 policy is a replacement cost coverage, which implies that in the event that your home is destroyed, your insurer will compensate you for the cost of rebuilding it. It covers the insured's house as well as their personal possessions
Homeowners Special Form (HO-3): The special form policy is widely chosen by homeowners because it covers all perils, unless specifically excluded in the policy. It provides coverage for personal belongings, loss of use, and personal liability. Being an open-peril policy, insureds are free to choose which perils to include or remove. Floods and earthquakes are excluded from the special form policy but a homeowner can include it as an endorsement or buy a separate flood insurance policy and an earthquake policy
Homeowners Comprehensive Form (HO-5): Comprehensive form policy is an extension of the HO-3 policy. It covers all kinds of perils unless expressly excluded in the policy and provides the highest level of coverage for your personal belongings and house
Homeowners Modified Form (HO-8): The modified policy form is for homeowners who are not eligible for HO-3 whose homes were built over 40 years ago. H0-8 policies cover the building, contents, and liability. However, coverage is only for named perils common in the building’s location.
Also known as the HO-6 policy, condo insurance in Pennsylvania is specially tailored to the requirements of condo owners and sometimes townhouses. Condominium insurance employs a named-peril plan, similar to the HO-2 policy. However, some insurers may permit insureds to expand their coverage options to all-peril plans, leading to higher premiums.
In the event of a covered incident, condo insurance can pay for damaged personal possessions and additional living expenses when the condo is temporarily uninhabitable. Condominium insurance provides coverage for the interior part of your condo unit, such as the walls and flooring. It also covers liability claims if someone sustains an injury within your condo unit. Coverage for the building’s common areas and exterior fixtures falls under the Condo Master Insurance Policy.
Also known as the HO-7 policy form, mobile home insurance in Pennsylvania is solely for manufactured or mobile homes. Like HO-3 coverage, mobile home insurance provides customizable all-risk protection for only the physical structure. Meanwhile, coverage for personal possessions is only for specific perils named in the policy, which may include hails, explosions, fire, theft, falling objects, and vandalism. Mobile home insurance for people who own travel trailers, sectional homes, modular homes, and park model homes.
Landlord insurance in Pennsylvania is a type of residential insurance that covers damages to a rental property, other structures attached, and personal properties used in maintaining the building. It also covers liability and can pay for medical costs or litigation fees when someone gets hurt on your rental property. Rental property owners in Pennsylvania purchase landlord insurance or a dwelling fire policy for housing units occupied by tenants.Landlord insurance is written in three different forms:
Basic DP-1 Policy Form: The basic form is an excellent low-cost choice for old buildings or properties that could possibly be uninsurable owing to their conditions. It will only protect rental properties from a few hazards, such as wildfires, lightning, and winds, and it only provides coverage for certain designated perils. DP-1 insurance typically provides protection for actual cash value (ACV), which is determined by subtracting depreciation from replacement cost. However, replacement cost coverage may be added to some DP-1 plans
Broad DP-2 Policy Form: This policy form covers more peril than DP-1 policies, including falling debris, the weight of snow or ice, and water released from pipes
Special DP-3 Policy Form: This policy is an all-risks, full coverage plan. The most typical dwelling coverage provided by the majority of P&C insurance providers in Pennsylvania is a DP-3. It is often provided on a replacement value model
Renters insurance (also known as HO-4 policy or tenant insurance) is the appropriate residential insurance for the 31% of Pennsylvanians who live in rental apartments. It offers renters an affordable means of protecting their personal belongings from theft, fire, robbery, smoke, vandalism, and water leaks in their rented homes. In Pennsylvania, companies that provide renters insurance also pay for damages from frequent natural catastrophes, including wildfires, tornadoes, and lightning.
Some Pennsylvania landlords may demand having renters insurance policies as a condition for tenancy. The average premium costs vary depending on the insurance provider you choose and variables unique to you and your rented home. Renters in Pennsylvania and other parts of the U.S. pay between $15 and $30 monthly for typical renters insurance policies with the coverage limits below:
Residential liability coverage pays for lawsuits alleging personal obligation for injuries and property damage to third parties. This coverage must be a part of every home insurance plan for landlords and tenants in Pennsylvania, including condo, homeowners, landlord, and renters insurance. An instance of when liability insurance is required is when a guest sustains an injury on your building or if you or a member of your family injures someone unintentionally or destroys their property while on your property. Property liability insurance can cover expenses like those incurred if your kids smash a neighbor's window while playing football. The two main parts of home insurance liability coverage are:
Personal Liability: Your residential insurance liability coverage will pay for (and typically hire) a lawyer on your behalf if you are sued as due to the occurence of a covered event. In addition, it covers losses for which you are held accountable up to your policy coverage limits
Medical costs: Even if a guest has health insurance, your home insurance liability coverage can help pay their medical bills if they are hurt while on your premises. Because it is no-fault insurance, the injured person usually has no need to file a claim against you to get medical payment
Residential liability insurance in Pennsylvania also includes:
Lost wages: If you are proven to be responsible, and the injured party is unable to work due to their wounds, your insurance may be able to compensate them
Death compensation: If someone passes away as a result of an accident in your home, this will cover burial expenses as well as payments for survivors
Libel and defame: In most cases, residential liability insurance will protect you against claims that you have defamed someone's reputation
Meanwhile, liability insurance excludes the following:
Family members' injuries: This is covered by your medical insurance
Forced injury: If a visitor falls on your staircase, your liability insurance will pay for it. However, it is not covered if you force them down the stairs
Dog attacks: Home insurance companies handle dog bites in a variety of ways. Some insurers will not cover you if the pet has been deemed violent by your legal provisions or if you possess a breed they deem "hazardous". You could be eligible for coverage if you confine the dog with a fence or a chain or provide documentation of its obedience training
It is important to consult with a property and casualty insurance agent in Pennsylvania to figure out what your residential liability insurance includes and excludes.
Condo and homeowners insurance varies mostly according to how much property they are intended to cover. Homeowners are in charge of the building's construction, the ground it stands on, and everything within. As a result, they are responsible for any damages or property damage sustained on their buildings. However, condo owners are just accountable for their own unit and the items within. The Condo Association's Master Policy covers the structure itself.
Individuals' personal belongings are protected by both homeowners and condo insurance from burglary and other covered hazards. No matter how extensive the master insurance of your association may be, it almost never protects the personal property contained within a condo unit. The size, location, and construction of a home all affect the insurance cost. Homeowners insurance coverage often costs more than condo insurance since conventional homes are typically larger and more vulnerable to structural damage.
The amount of home insurance you need in Pennsylvania should be enough to:
Rebuild or repair the damaged building
Replace or repair your personal possessions within the building
Pay for additional expenses if there is a need to live temporarily outside your home
Cover personal liability
Generally, the replacement cost of your home is the first consideration when determining how much coverage will suit you. Note that replacement cost and market value are not the same. The market value, which includes the price of your land, depends on the real estate market:
Replacement Cost Value (RCV): This insurance option compensates for the price of building a comparable structure or purchasing similar personal belongings. The land value is not included in the replacement cost because it is not part of the home rebuilding cost. Since it brings the home's condition closer to where it was before the risk, replacement cost is more widely preferred than actual cash value. Homeowners should hire an appraiser to determine the worth of the covered house or personal property before choosing this coverage option
Actual Cash Value: The term "actual cash value" in property insurance is the market worth of a property, or the original value of a residential structure, while depreciation costs are taken into account. By subtracting the depreciation expense from the item's or home's replacement cost, appraisers arrive at the actual cash value. The most affordable home insurance policy is one based on real cash value since replacement cost policies have higher claim payouts. The original purchase value of the property, or its current worth minus the depreciation charges due to wear and tear during the ownership period, is used to calculate the asset's actual cash value
To determine how much home insurance you need in Pennsylvania, you must consider factors other than your home's market worth. For instance, you might need to employ experts to repair fire damage if your house is older and has plaster ceilings and custom-made decor. Similarly, if your kitchen is outfitted with expensive industrial equipment, those characteristics should be taken into account when determining the appropriate level of coverage. It is important to consider these additional costs when choosing the right coverage amount.
Before deciding on the coverage limit, another aspect to take into account is the price of nearby building supplies. Find out how much it will cost in construction materials and labor to renovate your home to its current condition or to construct a new home that meets your needs. The number of bathrooms, the type of components used in the building, and any unique characteristics of your home all have an influence on the level of protection you require. For instance, you could want full coverage limits to preserve the quality bespoke tile in your sitting room.
In general, homeowners insurance policies are written with secondary coverage calculated as a percentage of the dwelling coverage amount. According to an NAIC Guide, the table below illustrates how to calculate the secondary coverage limit after choosing a dwelling coverage limit in Pennsylvania.
|Coverage Type||Coverage limit|
|Dwelling Coverage||Often between $100,000 to $1 million|
|Content Coverage||50% of the dwelling coverage|
|Other Structures||10% of the dwelling coverage|
|Loss of Use||20% of the dwelling coverage|
|Medical Payments||Set by insured|
|Personal Liability||Set by insured|
A Pennsylvania-licensed P&C insurance agent can assist in identifying your residential insurance needs and make sure that you get enough coverage to cover the replacement cost of your house in case of a covered loss.
Over-insurance in residential property insurance occurs when the policy coverage amount you choose exceeds the real worth of the house. It is usually not advisable to over-insure your home since your insurer will only cover the amount it requires to replace or rebuild your personal belongings/home structure in the event of a covered incident. Over-insurance is different from overlapping insurance, which is when a person purchases numerous insurance plans that offer the same protection against the same risks. An example of excessive coverage in Pennsylvania is a single-family residence with a market worth of $250,000 that is protected by a $350,000 insurance contract. Property owners who over-insure their properties wind up paying higher rates as a result for protection that their properties do not need.
Homeowners insurance should sufficiently cover the expense of completely reconstructing your home at current building materials rates. If you are unclear about how this operates, always consult a home insurance agent who is duly licensed in Pennsylvania. They will guide you in making the best residential property insurance choices.
You under-insure a residential property if you purchase a policy that only partially reimburses you for covered losses. For instance, you may insure your home in Pennsylvania for $200,000 only to learn that it will cost $350,000 to reconstruct it after damages from a covered peril. As a result, you are forced to spend large sums of money out of your pocket (if you have it) to replace or repair damaged buildings or personal belongings.
Even though the insurer will typically review the value of the insured home and then suggest the insured to adjust the coverages - if needed, homeowners should make sure they have the appropriate level of coverage on their residential properties. This can be done by reviewing your policy regularly with a knowledgeable P&C insurance agent licensed. A professional insurance agent will help you determine if you should choose the replacement cost value or the current market value of your home. Also, an agent will help you notify your home insurance company of any home modifications you made within the last policy period with a view of reviewing your coverage appropriately.
Your Pennsylvania residential insurance policy may include coverage for solar panels as part of your dwelling coverage if they are attached to the framework of your building (for instance, rooftop-mounted panels). Ground-mounted PV systems and other non-attached solar panels may be insured under attached structures of the coverage plan. Once included in your homeowners policy, your PA insurer will pay damages done to the solar panels by named perils such as vandalism, wind, lightning, and fire. Some home insurance plans, however, do not cover hail or wind-related damage to solar panels.
Installing solar panels increases the value of your homes, which is why you must notify your insurance provider or update your coverage limits to protect your investment. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the state of Pennsylvania installed enough solar to power over 100,000 PA homes. Solar power generation is projected to grow from 936MW to 1,593MW in the next five years, which means more homeowners will choose solar energy since it allows them to save costs on electricity bills.
After installing solar panels, review your residential insurance package to ascertain eligibility and coverage limitations. If you find that your coverage does not include solar panels, speak with your insurer to adjust the current policy, or contact a Pennsylvania-licensed home insurance agent for a new estimate. You may want a different insurance provider if your insurer only offers bare-bones coverage for solar panels.
Generally, solar panel installation often increases the value of your property, hence, home insurance cost. The cost of installing a solar panel in Pennsylvania varies according to the solar panel system size. For instance, a 3kW solar system may cost between $7,000 and $10,000. You may need to raise the coverage amounts to adequately cover for the replacement cost of your solar panels. Be aware that increasing your coverage limit will lead to high premium fees. However, the extra fee may be considered little compared to the cost of replacing or repairing the solar panels out of your pocket. They are more likely to sustain damage since they are set up outside in elevated locations exposed to wind, hail, and lightning. Homeowners can consult their insurance agents to learn more about the details of how solar panels affect their home insurance costs.
As you upgrade your home and residential coverage plan with solar panels, the cost of your home insurance increases accordingly. Typically, higher coverage limits result in higher insurance rates. Therefore, before including solar panels in your home insurance policy, consult a knowledgeable insurance agent and discuss how increasing your policy coverage limits will affect insurance costs. This is to guarantee that, in the event of unforeseeable circumstances, the coverage amount of your policy will be sufficient to restore both your home and your solar panels. Solar panel installation can raise the cost of home insurance in Pennsylvania, but the rate of increase depends heavily on the insurance provider and the products they provide. Speak with a P&C insurance agent with a license in Pennsylvania who can assist you in comparing insurance quotes from several home insurance providers to obtain an affordable rate appropriate for your requirements.
Usually, home insurance policies in Pennsylvania cover hail damage for rooftop solar panel installations. A significant concern for solar panels is harsh weather, such as hurricanes, blizzards, and strong winds. Hail damage on rooftop solar systems can be severe, leading to thousands of dollars worth of repair or complete replacement. As such, you should confirm if rooftop solar panel damage caused by hail is covered by your home policy under the policy's dwelling section.
You may need to add coverage to your current policy or get a new one if your insurance company excludes hail damage to solar panels. However, increasing your home insurance coverage limit for hail damages on your solar panels may lead to higher premium payments. Also, ground-mounted solar panels or solar systems erected on a carport at your home may require a separate hail coverage or endorsement policy. Discuss with your P&C insurance agent to know if your current home insurance will cover your solar panels and other available options for you.
Yes, property damage from unexpected and accidental leaks is covered by standard home insurance in Pennsylvania. Apart from homeowners coverage, damages caused by water leaks are usually included in landlord, condo, and renters insurance policies. Nevertheless, leaks caused by misuse or neglect are excluded from all residential property insurance types in Pennsylvania.
Home insurance providers in Pennsylvania often pay for only sudden and unexpected water damage; they do not cover continuous leaks that lead to water damage, or damage caused by floods. Furthermore, residential insurance coverage does not cover water damages that necessitate mold treatment. Homeowners or renters who desire mold remediation coverage may add it as an endorsement to their standard home insurance policies. You should contact a Pennsylvania-licensed residential property insurance agent to help you weigh your options as it relates to getting coverage for water damage.
Yes. Pennsylvania's standard home insurance policy covers burst pipes or other plumbing issues. However, this excludes plumbing leaks due to old and weakening plumbing materials neglected without repairs or replacement. Therefore, you should fix minor leaks immediately you notice them to prevent further property damage whose costs you may have to pay out of pocket. To avoid such a situation, make sure to regularly review the coverage and limitations of your policy with a home insurance agent who is licensed by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department.
Yes. Your residential property insurance policy in Pennsylvania can pay for unexpected and accidental roof leaks. Generally, the primary cause of the roof leak will determine whether the insurance provider will pay for the damage. Home insurance will often provide coverage if the original cause of the loss is one of the defined perils (storm, winds, or hail). If you possess a comprehensive policy form with an all-risk option, roof leaf damages will be covered unless you exclude it. While your content coverage will cover your damaged possessions, the building coverage will pay to repair any damage to the home's structure. Home insurance frequently excludes coverage for leaks that occur slowly or as a result of poor maintenance. Also, if the roof is old, Pennsylvania insurers may only pay the market value of the damaged roof.
Yes, temporary housing is typically included in all residential insurance policies in Pennsylvania. If your owned or rented home is damaged and you cannot live in it while the claim and the repairs are going on, the Loss of Use coverage of the policy reimburses for such costs. Depending on the type of residential policy, temporary housing coverage may be referred to as:
Loss of Use
Temporary relocation coverage, or
Additional living expenses
A standard residential insurance plan in Pennsylvania covers theft, break-ins, and vandalism. Your homeowners, condo, landlord, or renters insurance coverage can assist you in replacing your lost personal property if you become a victim of theft, whether it occurred inside or outside your home, condominium, or rented apartment. Furthermore, the renovations to any property damaged by a thief or burglar may be covered by your home insurance coverage.
Besides the property inside your home, residential property insurance will also cover your property if it is stolen from inside your vehicle. Theft of items from inside the car is usually not covered by car insurance, but your residential personal property coverage has you covered.
Residential insurance can also protect the insured in case of an identity theft. This additional Identity theft rider coverage does not insure against the occurrence of identity theft, but it can help with the costs incurred during the aftermath of risk mitigation.
Yes. Mold coverage is available for insureds with home insurance policies in Pennsylvania, provided it is caused by a named peril like a burst pipe or toilet overflow. Mold damages caused by regular wear and tear, substandard home maintenance, and persistent leaks left unchecked are excluded from most home insurance policies. Some insurers restrict the coverage limit for mold damage to $10,000.
In Pennsylvania, residential insurance plans provide coverage for foundation damage caused by covered perils, including fire, explosions, volcanic eruptions, and accidental or unexpected water damage. Nevertheless, damages caused by natural disasters like earthquakes and flooding are excluded from home coverage plans. Other exclusions are damages caused by substandard foundations, shifting earth crust, foundation cracks, and sagging floors. Always go through your home insurance policy document to understand what is excluded and included. You can do this with the help of a Pennsylvania-licensed insurance agent.
PA insurers provide additional coverage options for natural disasters like floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes. However, insureds can either purchase separate policies to cover each disaster or include them as endorsements to their existing home insurance policies. Disaster recovery insurance coverage is available for homeowners, renters, and organizations.
In Pennsylvania, it is advisable to have home insurance coverage for natural disasters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recorded over 60 major declared disasters in Pennsylvania between 1953 and 2021. Disasters like Hurricane Diane in 1955 led to property damage worth up to $70 million. Wildfires are also common in the Commonwealth, with over 1,300 fires reported by the National Interagency Fire Center.
The recent Hurricane Ida, which occurred between August and September 2021, greatly affected Philadelphia and Delaware counties. Remnants of Hurricane Ida also resulted in several tornadoes, causing further damage to residential buildings and personal belongings. Altogether, these events affected over 83,000 PA households. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) received over 1,800 claims and spent up to $100 million to rebuild or repair flood-impacted buildings and belongings affected by Hurricane Ida.
Home insurance in Pennsylvania does not cover damages caused by floods. However, you can purchase flood insurance coverage by contacting a knowledgeable P&C insurance agent to discuss your needs. Only an inch of floodwater can result in close to $25,000 in housing damage. As a result, whether a home is in a high-risk flood-prone area or not, flood insurance is essential, and premiums are lower in low- and moderate-risk locations. Pennsylvanians can use the PA Flood Risk Tool to find their flood zones and related risks. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has over 83,000 miles of riverways, according to recent studies. This explains why river flooding is common in Pennsylvania, as it affects other locations away from FEMA’s 100-year floodplain (regions with a 1% possibility of flood disasters). In addition to the typical river floods, Pennsylvania also experiences flash, coastal, and urban floods.
Residents can purchase flood insurance from private P&C insurance providers or the FEMA-backed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Generally, the average annual cost of flood insurance in Pennsylvania is $700. This cost varies according to location, with residents living in flood-prone areas paying higher premiums than those living in low-risk floodplains. Like other insurance policies, flood insurance reimburses you for costs incurred when a flood destroys your house or your possessions. Residents can use the NFIP underwriting forms to apply for flood insurance or contact the NFIP by calling (877) 336-2627. To make the application easy and free from errors, speak with a knowledgeable P&C insurance agent in Pennsylvania.
Home insurance policies in Pennsylvania often pay for damages caused by tornadoes and windstorms. Notwithstanding, some residents living in areas with high tornadic activity purchase a separate tornado insurance for more comprehensive coverage. Having a coverage policy that insures your property and belongings against tornado damages is important for PA residents. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), 44 tornadoes occurred in 2021, and Pennsylvania ranked as the 12th state with the highest number of tornado occurrences in the U.S.
Building roofs, windows, and patio doors can all be totally destroyed by tornadoes. As such, the best way to secure your financial future against such an unexpected natural disaster is by purchasing a home insurance policy that includes coverage for tornado-induced damages. Such residential insurance should cover:
Damages done to the building and other structures like the garages, decks, or patios
Damages done to your personal belongings. Note that some insurance plans will cover the replacement cost of personal possessions lost in a tornado, while others will only cover the item's real cost after depreciation.
Additional living expenses in severe situations when you are forced to stay in temporary dwellings
Like every disaster insurance policy, the insured’s location will affect the cost of tornado coverage. Reviewing your home insurance policy with a Pennsylvania-licensed P&C insurance agent will help you determine what should be included and excluded, and ways to save on premium costs for tornado coverage.
Pennsylvania insurers do not offer standalone hurricane insurance coverage, so you will need to rely on your home insurance policy and some supplemental policies, like flood insurance, for adequate coverage. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is known for prominent devastating hurricanes between 1950 and 2021. For instance, Hurricane Connie and Diane, which occurred in 1955 destroyed property worth millions of dollars. In 2020, the Insurance Information Institute (III) revealed that more than 85,000 single-family homes in Pennsylvania are at risk of hurricane damage, with the estimated total reconstruction cost of these homes amounting to over $21 billion. To protect your property and belongings from damages caused by hurricanes in the Commonwealth, you may need to extend your home insurance coverage limit or purchase flood insurance as an endorsement. Discuss your options with a Pennsylvania-licensed P&C insurance agent who has adequate knowledge of hurricane risk unique to your location.
In Pennsylvania, residential property insurance does not cover earthquake damages. However, several companies in PA may include earthquake-induced fires as a covered peril under a comprehensive home insurance policy. This means that properties and personal belongings destroyed by earthquake-induced fires will be reimbursed by the insurance provider. The insurers will also pay for additional living costs incurred if such a fire renders a property uninhabitable.
Earthquakes are not common occurrences in Pennsylvania, although there are a few areas with a history of small events. The 1998 Pymatuning earthquake was the largest recorded earthquake in Pennsylvania. The 5.2-magnitude earthquake caused minor structural damage but had significant effects on the local groundwater system. In 1994, another earthquake occurred in Berks County with a magnitude of 4.6. High-magnitude earthquakes above 3.5 can cause severe damages to home structures. They can damage housing foundations and collapse walls; even relatively mild tremors can destroy furnishings and personal belongings.
Pennsylvanians living in high-risk locations (areas with high seismic activities) may need to obtain separate earthquake policies to cover earthquake-related losses. They may also add it as an endorsement to their existing home insurance policies like homeowners, renters, landlords, and condo insurance. The cost of earthquake insurance can differ greatly, from being quite cheap in low-risk locations to being relatively expensive in locations that are more vulnerable to earthquakes. Earthquake deductibles are often higher than homeowners or renters insurance due to the financial risk involved in insuring earthquake damages.
Coverage for sinkhole damages is excluded from most home insurance policies in Pennsylvania. Sinkholes develop when the earth below the ground surface becomes inundated with groundwater and finally collapses downward. If the sinkhole expands further, this might result in structural destruction to the house as well as an unexpected collapse. According to Research studies by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, sinkholes are one of the state’s serious geologic hazards, mostly affecting many parts of Chester, Montgomery, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Berks counties.
Pennsylvanians living in areas prone to sinkholes can purchase a separate coverage or include it as a rider policy to their home insurance. This way, their buildings and personal belongings are financially covered in the event of a sinkhole. Consult a local, duly-licensed property insurance agent who can answer your inquiries about sinkhole insurance. With the help of a local insurance agent, you will be able to determine the amount of sinkhole coverage that will suit your needs.