Does your NJ home insurance cover tornado damage?

Wild storms in early April will probably have you take tornado warnings a bit more seriously in the future.

And there’s some good news for residents wondering if New Jersey will become “tornado alley” of the Northeast: the Garden State isn’t playing catch-up when it comes to home insurance.

According to many insurance advice websites, as well as the Insurance Council of New Jersey, a standard homeowner’s insurance policy in New Jersey is likely to include tornado coverage of your home and belongings. That includes any wind-related impacts such as a tree falling onto your home.

“Everyone should check their policies to see the extent of that coverage and whether or not there is a deductible tied to that coverage,” said ICNJ President Christine O’Brien.

O’Brien noted that one’s policy could include a wind-related deductible that’s secondary to the policy’s traditional out-of-pocket minimum.

If tornado coverage isn’t part of your policy, it can be added at any time — except when the big storm is already on its way.

“The fee will range from insurer to insurer,” O’Brien said.

And the impact of tornadoes is included in the “natural disaster” portion of an automobile’s insurance policy, if you opted for comprehensive coverage and not just collision.

“Whether it’s tornadoes or wildfires, these are climate-related weather events that we have been seeing increase along the East Coast,” O’Brien said. “Be prepared for the unknown, because we now know the unknown is starting to happen rather frequently.”

The National Weather Service confirmed that eight tornadoes touched down in New Jersey on April 1. As average temperatures continue to rise, it’s expected that the threat of violent storms will increase as well.

According to Trusted Choice, which represents independent insurance agents and brokers, the western portion of New Jersey is “especially vulnerable” to tornadoes. On average, less than a handful of tornadoes hit New Jersey on a yearly basis.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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