What states have the most tornadoes?

Texas is the state with the most tornadoes, followed by Kansas and Oklahoma — not surprising with all three smack dab in the middle of Tornado Alley.

Pat Howard 1600Jennifer Gimbel

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Pat Howard

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

&Jennifer Gimbel

Jennifer Gimbel

Senior Managing Editor & Home Insurance Expert

Jennifer Gimbel is a senior managing editor and home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she oversees our homeowners insurance coverage. Previously, she was the managing editor at Finder.com and a content strategist at Babble.com.

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Kristi Sullivan, CFP®

Kristi Sullivan, CFP®

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Kristi Sullivan, CFP®, is a certified financial planner and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius. Previously, she was a regional consultant at Fidelity Investments for nine years.

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The 2022 tornado season is already breaking records. March alone had at least 210 confirmed tornadoes throughout the U.S., surpassing both the March average of 80 tornadoes and the previous record of 192 twisters in March 2017. [1]

Read on to find out what states historically experience the most twisters each year — and how to ensure your home insurance policy adequately covers you against tornado damage.

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What state has the most tornadoes?

Since 1997, Texas has averaged 135 tornadoes per year — the highest of any other state in the U.S., according to our analysis of data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). [2] It’s followed by Kansas with 91 annual tornadoes and Oklahoma with 75 twisters per year.

As you can see in the map above, the majority of tornadoes are concentrated in states throughout the Midwest and Southeast. 

Of the average 1,375 tornadoes that occur in the U.S. each year, 75% of them form in states located in Tornado Alley and Dixie Alley — two regions with a disproportionately high number of tornadoes due to ideal twister-forming weather conditions that persist for long stretches of the year.

Tornadoes by state over the last 25 years

Here’s a complete breakdown of the average number of tornadoes per year in each state over the last 25 years.

Top 10 states with the most tornadoes

Here are the top 10 states with the most tornadoes annually over the last 25 years:

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Why the term “Tornado Alley” may be a thing of the past

While it’s no secret that states like Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Nebraska experience a lot of tornadoes, meteorologists report the term “Tornado Alley” may be outdated. That’s because in recent years, the most destructive tornadoes have actually shifted east with more twisters happening in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and other Southern states. Experts fear that continuing to use the term “Tornado Alley” will leave many Americans outside these historically tornado-prone areas grossly underestimating their risk of experiencing a dangerous twister.

Does home insurance cover tornado damage?

Homeowners insurance covers tornado damage caused by wind and hail, fallen trees, and wind-driven rain. However, water damage from flooding that occurs during a twister would not be covered under your standard home insurance policy — you’ll need separate flood insurance for that.

The one exception is if you live in an area at high risk for wind damage — your home insurance policy might exclude coverage for wind and hail. In this case, you’ll need to purchase a separate wind-only policy to fill that coverage gap.

Struggling to find coverage? Check out your state’s FAIR Plan

If you live in a tornado-prone area and you’re unable to find homeowners insurance due to your home’s high risk, our experts recommend looking into your state’s Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan.

This type of homeowners insurance is run at a state level, but funded by private insurance companies, and is generally more expensive and more limited than normal homeowners insurance. FAIR Plans are a last-resort option for homes that don’t qualify for a standard policy. You can also combine FAIR Plan coverage with a difference in conditions (DIC) policy to fill in any coverage gaps.

Do I need to pay a separate deductible for tornado damage?

Depending on your state and insurance company, you may have to pay a separate deductible on losses caused by wind and hail damage thanks to your separate windstorm insurance policy. Known as a wind/hail deductible, it can either be a flat-dollar amount or a percentage of your home’s dwelling coverage limit — usually between 1% and 5%.

You choose your deductible when you purchase your home insurance or windstorm insurance policy. A higher deductible leads to lower insurance rates, and vice versa.

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Frequently asked questions

What states don’t have tornadoes?

Alaska, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C. rarely see tornadoes — they averaged zero tornadoes annually over the last 25 years, according to our analysis of NOAA data.

What states are in Tornado Alley?

States that were traditionally in Tornado Alley include South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Texas, according to the NOAA.

However, climatologists have since seen a shift in tornadoes to the Southeast and identified what they call the new Tornado Alley that consists of Eastern Texas and Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and parts of Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri.

How often do tornadoes happen in Maine?

Maine homeowners experienced an average of two tornadoes per year between 1997 and 2022, according to our analysis of NOAA data.

What states have the most tornadoes?

These five states see the most tornadoes each year: Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Mississippi. But surprisingly, many homeowners who've lived through a tornado believe they're less likely than others to experience future ones.

References

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  1. The Washington Post

    . "

    2022 generated most March tornadoes on record in U.S.

    ." Accessed June 09, 2022.

  2. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

    . "

    Storm Events Database

    ." Accessed June 09, 2022.

Authors

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

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Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

Senior Managing Editor & Home Insurance Expert

Jennifer Gimbel

Senior Managing Editor & Home Insurance Expert

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Jennifer Gimbel is a senior managing editor and home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she oversees our homeowners insurance coverage. Previously, she was the managing editor at Finder.com and a content strategist at Babble.com.

Expert reviewer

Certified Financial Planner

Kristi Sullivan, CFP®

Certified Financial Planner

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Kristi Sullivan, CFP®, is a certified financial planner and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius. Previously, she was a regional consultant at Fidelity Investments for nine years.

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