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The 10 costliest hurricanes

Hurricanes and tropical storms are the costliest type of U.S. disaster.

Insured losses from the storms totaled $161.3 billion from 1992 to 2011, according to ISO's Property Claims Services (PCS). That's more than damage from tornadoes, estimated at $130.2 billion in insured losses, and all other catastrophes combined -- winter storms, terrorism, earthquakes and wildfires.

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Katrina damage

Damage from Hurricane Katrina

Most standard home insurance policies cover storm damage -- except from flooding. For protection against rising water, you need flood insurance. Most policies are provided by the National Flood Insurance Program and sold by private companies. In addition, in some coastal regions, home insurance excludes damage from wind and hail, so separate windstorm insurance in those areas is vital.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will issue its annual hurricane forecast on May 23. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, with hurricanes most commonly making U.S. landfall in September, followed by August and October.

Here are the 10 costliest hurricanes to hit the United States, according to PCS. The dollar figures, adjusted for inflation through 2012, are for insured property losses and don't include damage covered by flood insurance.

No. 10: Frances - Sept. 3-9, 2004

$5.63 billion

A week after Charley hit Florida's Gulf Coast, Frances struck the Sunshine State's Atlantic Coast near Sewall's Point. Weakening to a tropical storm, Frances tracked northwest into the Gulf and made a second landfall at St. Marks in the Florida Panhandle. As it moved from Florida to Virginia, the storm brought heavy rain and flooding and spawned more than 100 tornadoes.

No. 9: Rita - Sept. 20-26, 2005

$6.66 billion

Gulf Coast residents were picking up the pieces from Katrina when Rita hit the Texas-Louisiana border -- the first time two hurricanes strengthened to Category 5 in the Gulf in one season. More than 2 million people were evacuated in Texas, one of the largest evacuations in U.S. history. Texas and Louisiana bore the brunt of wind and flood damage.

No. 8: Hugo - Sept. 17-22, 1989

$7.83 billion

After devastating parts of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hugo struck northeast of Charleston, S.C. Packing 135 mph winds, the hurricane barreled into North Carolina, wreaking havoc as far inland as Charlotte. Hugo damaged or destroyed more than 200,000 families' homes, according to Red Cross estimates.

No. 7: Ivan - Sept. 15-21, 2004

$8.71 billion

After landing west of Gulf Shores, Ala., Ivan spawned more than 100 tornadoes and heavy rain from Florida to Pennsylvania as it moved inland. Thousands of beachfront homes and buildings in the Florida Panhandle were damaged or destroyed. Debris piles after cleanup in Escambia County alone grew to 70 feet high and stretched three-quarters of a mile.

No. 6: Charley - Aug. 13-14, 2004

$9.15 billion

Charley hit Florida's southwest coast near Cayo Costa and cut a destructive swath across the central peninsula. After a detour to sea, the storm brushed Cape Romain, S.C., and made final landfall at North Myrtle Beach, S.C. Charley destroyed Carolina beachfront homes, but did the worst damage in Florida, leaving tens of thousands of people homeless and almost 1 million without power.

No. 5: Wilma - Oct. 24, 2005

$11.07 billion

Wilma drove into Florida's southwest coast near Naples and sped across the state to Palm Beach. The storm left parts of the Florida Keys under several feet of water, spawned tornados on the Space Coast, tore up homes and buildings, blew out high-rise windows and left more than 6 million people without power.

No. 4: Ike - Sept. 12-14, 2008

$13.43 billion

Ike slammed into Galveston Island and rumbled through eastern Texas to Arkansas. Seawater up to 20 feet above normal tide swept away almost every building in Crystal Beach, Gilchrist and High Island on the Bolivar Peninsula in Texas. Ike tore off parts of the roof on Reliant Stadium in Houston, flooded homes 30 miles inland in southwestern Louisiana and spawned tornadoes in Arkansas.

No. 3: Sandy - Oct. 22-29, 2012

$18.75 billion

Sandy landed near Atlantic City, N.J., as a post-tropical cyclone and pummeled 24 states from Florida to Maine and in Appalachia and the Midwest. The "superstorm" flooded New York's Lower Manhattan, washed away homes and businesses on the Jersey Shore, dumped snow in the Appalachians and left 6 million people without power.

No. 2: Andrew - Aug. 24-26, 1992

$25.56 billion

Andrew crashed into the coast south of Miami with winds so intense they destroyed the tools to measure them. Before failing, one instrument clocked gusts at 169 mph. The storm sped west across the peninsula into the Gulf of Mexico, and then shifted north to the central Louisiana coast. Wind tore off roofs and flattened entire neighborhoods, causing more damage than flooding in Florida.

No. 1: Katrina - Aug. 25-30, 2005

$48.68 billion

Horrific Katrina worked its way across southern Florida into the Gulf and strengthened to a Category 5 hurricane before striking near the Louisiana-Mississippi border. Walls of seawater inundated coastal cities within hours, leaving parts of Mobile, Ala., and Gulfport and Biloxi, Miss., underwater. Levees in New Orleans failed. Most roads out of the city were damaged. Wind peeled off roofs, including large chunks of the Superdome, where evacuees huddled. Left homeless, hundreds of thousands of people left the area to start their lives elsewhere.

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