How Much Does a Tornado or Storm Shelter Cost?

Typical Range:

$2,548 - $11,292

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 79 HomeAdvisor members. Embed this data

How We Get This Data

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  • Homeowners use HomeAdvisor to find pros for home projects.
  • When their projects are done, they fill out a short cost survey.
  • We compile the data and report costs back to you.

Updated September 1, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

Storm shelter prices range between $2,548 and $11,292, with an average storm shelter costing $6,865. But these prices can vary greatly depending on your location and shelter size. Your hurricane or tornado shelter cost might be as high as $30,000

If you live in an area with hurricanes or tornadoes and deal with the cost of storm damage repairs, building a storm shelter can help protect your family during bad weather. Installing one is a major decision, as it can be a considerable expense for something you don't use frequently. Use our storm shelter cost calculator below to estimate your project.

2022 Notice: Material Prices Are Surging

Demand for siding and other building materials has grown over the past year. And as a result, manufacturers are increasing materials prices. Prices have gone up 5% to 10% this year, and many parts of the country are experiencing long delivery times. If you're planning a building project, we recommend starting as early as possible in the season, preparing for potential price fluctuations, and allowing extra time to order materials.

Average Storm Shelter Costs

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National Average $6,865
Typical Range $2,548 - $11,292
Low End - High End $500 - $25,000

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 79 HomeAdvisor members.

Storm Shelter Cost by Type

When installing a storm shelter, your largest choice—and largest cost factor—is determining where you'll put it. Your two main options are aboveground or in-ground (or underground). Keep reading to find out more in-depth information about each type and which works best for your space.

Aboveground

Typically, an aboveground shelter costs between $2,600 and $15,000, with most aboveground shelters going in a garage or basement. Though a basement is located underground, "aboveground" refers to the installation above a concrete surface. 

Advantages of an aboveground storm shelter are the lower cost and easier installation. In addition, they're more easily accessible for people with mobility challenges, less likely to have bugs, and ideal for properties with a high water table (locations that flood more easily). If you don't want to alter your landscaping, aboveground hurricane or tornado shelters may make more sense.

In-Ground

Underground storm shelter prices run between $4,200 and $30,000, with many homeowners installing in-ground shelters below their garage or in their yards. In-ground units are more effective against extreme weather, as they’re more resistant to falling debris and strong winds. Opting for an in-ground unit also means you won’t take up any square footage within your home.

However, in-ground units are prone to flooding, meaning you’ll need to budget for land excavation costs, which are about $1,500 to $5,600. If your in-ground shelter floods, you may need to budget for water damage restoration costs and the cost of removing standing water.

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Storm Shelter Cost by Location

Garages and basements are the most common locations for tornado and hurricane shelters, but you can also build under-bed shelters and safe rooms in locations like under the stairs or a closet.

Storm Shelter Location Average Cost Range to Install
Garage (aboveground) $3,000 – $9,000
Garage (in-ground) $10,000 – $15,000
Basement $6,000 – $15,000
Under-bed $2,100 – $4,500
Safe room $3,000 – $10,000

Garage

Garage storm shelters can be aboveground or in-ground. A storm shelter on a garage floor costs around $3,000 to $9,000. These tend to be smaller than other aboveground shelters because you're working with limited square footage.

You can install an in-ground garage shelter if you pay to excavate beneath the garage. Storm shelter prices under the garage floor range from $10,000 to $15,000. You'll pay more for options with a staircase or one that'll hold more than eight people.

Basement

Aboveground basement storm shelters cost between $6,000 and $15,000. Basements are ideal for an aboveground shelter because the basement is already underground. However, you have to be willing to give up square footage you might otherwise use for storage, a home gym, or a laundry room.

Bed Shelter

Installing a storm shelter under a bed costs approximately $2,100 to $4,500. An under-bed storm shelter is ideal for homeowners without ample space or the budget for a larger storm shelter.

An under-bed storm shelter can typically fit two people and meets Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requirements for EF5 tornadoes. However, these shelters are small. If you’re claustrophobic, it might not be the best option.

Safe Room

The average cost to build a safe room in your home ranges from $3,000 to $10,000. If you want extra features like cameras or security, you’ll pay up to $15,000.

Safe rooms—also called panic rooms—are typically built for your family to hide during a home invasion, but if your safe room is built with walls that can withstand hurricane-force winds, it can double as a storm shelter. 

Here are some at-home spaces for your safe room build: 

  • Closet-safe rooms cost around $4,500–$6,000.

  • Under-the-stairs safe rooms cost around $3,000–$5,000.

Storm Shelter Costs by Size

Costs of storm shelters compared by occupancy size, ranging from $5,500 for 6 people to $20,000 for 15-plus people

The size of your storm shelter impacts the cost. Review our table below to determine how much you’ll spend for one that accommodates you and your loved ones.

Storm Shelter by Occupancy Number Average Price Range
6 $3,000 – $8,000
8 $4,000 – $10,000
12 $6,000 – $20,000
15+ $10,000 – $30,000

As a general rule, plan for 6 square feet per person for tornadoes and 10 square feet for hurricanes.

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Storm Shelter Cost Factors

While the type, location, and size of your hurricane- or tornado-safe room will significantly impact the overall price, additional cost factors can affect your total. Read about them below.

Soil Conditions

Land excavation and grading cost approximately $1,500 to $5,600 and may not be included in the price of your shelter. If you have land that's easy to dig through, the installation should go quickly. If you have rocky soil or concrete to jackhammer through, it may be more time-consuming and expensive.

Position

For the best underground storm shelter location, you may need to pay the cost to level land or regrade a lawn, which ranges from $1,000 to $3,200. The ideal spot is near the house but not so close that debris can fall on it.

Measure the height of your house wall. If possible, position the storm shelter as far away in the distance from its height in length. Or consider options with a sloped door so debris will slide down rather than lying flat on top of the door.

Concrete Pouring

Pouring concrete costs around $2.50 per square foot. Manufacturers recommend installing it around most in-ground storm shelters. This keeps it from floating out should the surrounding soil become saturated with moisture.

Prefab vs. Custom

Premanufactured storm shelters can cost as little as $3,000, including installation. The average cost of an 8-by-10-foot aboveground structure is between $5,500 and $12,000. This includes delivery, installation, and a range of features, such as a welded steel box and steel planks.

Custom shelters will cost more than a prefab shelter. For example, a 5-by-5-by-8-foot in-ground shelter costs around $3,000 to $8,000, with an additional $1,000 to $3,000 for delivery and installation (more if the excavation proves challenging). If you want a larger size or additional features like electricity, you can expect to pay more.

Materials 

The shelter material will also affect the overall price. Custom-built structures typically use reinforced concrete, while prefab gives you more options, including steel and fiberglass.

Storm Shelter Material Average Cost Range Notes
Steel $4,000 – $30,000 Lightweight but durable
Fiberglass $3,000 – $10,000 Only viable underground
Concrete $3,000 – $7,000 Affordable yet heavy and resistant to strong winds
Kevlar $5,000 – $30,000 Intruder-resistant

Brand

Because installation costs can vary, it's a good idea to call each company you're considering to get a quote for a prefab unit. Here are some of the most popular storm shelter brands:

  • Atlas Survival Shelters

  • Hausner’s

  • Storm Safe Shelters

  • FamilySAFE Shelters

  • Valley Storm Shelters

  • Ground Zero

  • Oklahoma Shelters

  • Survive-A-Storm

  • SafePorch Storm Shelters

Accessibility

Designing for accessibility can impact your overall cost. Consider how far away a shelter is (the farther it is from your home, the harder it can be to get to in an emergency) and how accessible it is for someone with limited mobility. Features like wheelchair ramps can increase the cost and require more square footage.

Add-Ons and Other Features

Just as you might pay for security features like a camera system in a safe room, you can opt for additional safety features for your storm shelter. Here are some common add-ons to budget for:

  • Beds with mattresses: $300–$400 each

  • Handrail: $50–$100

  • Emergency exit: $500–$2,000 (may only be available on custom units)

  • Enhanced air ventilation or filtration systems: $100–$3,000

  • Plumbing (water supply, wastewater, etc.): $100–$5,000

  • Electric or internet: $100–$1,500

Depending on your budget, you might instead want to build a bomb shelter, which can double as a storm shelter. On average, building a bomb shelter costs around $53,000.

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FAQs

Do I need a permit for a storm shelter?

In some municipalities, a permit is required, with FEMA publishing guidelines for building a safe room (FEMA P-361 and P-320). Permit costs can range from $430 to $2,240.

Will FEMA pay for a storm shelter?

FEMA funding may cover up to 75% of the cost of a storm shelter. The federal government distributes money to states, which set their own requirements. To find out your options, contact your State Hazard Mitigation Officer.

Do storm shelters add value to a home?

Storm shelters can add up to 50% of the unit cost in resale value. This applies most in areas where hurricanes or tornadoes are common. Some homeowners have increased the value of their underground safe rooms by using some of the space for a gun safe or wine cellar.

What are the benefits of a pre-built storm shelter?

With no building expenses, a pre-built shelter typically costs less to buy and install. They're also available in various sizes and materials, making it easy to choose the one that's right for your family's needs.

How long does it take to install a tornado shelter?

Most pre-built storm shelters take four to eight hours to install. Custom-made options or installations requiring land excavation can take days or weeks to build the structure from the ground up.

How much space do I need in the storm shelter?

FEMA recommends at least 6 square feet per person during a tornado and 10 square feet per person for a hurricane. For example, a 5-by-6-foot shelter is suitable for a family of five in a tornado-prone area.