Hurricane Sandy is expected to become one of the top 10 most expensive hurricanes in U.S. history, according to disaster-modeling company Eqecat.

The storm, which will deliver powerful wind gusts and heavy rains to the some of the most populous parts of the U.S., could cost the insurance industry between $5 billion and $10 billion, Eqecat estimated Monday.

At the high end of that range, Sandy would rank as the fifth-most expensive hurricane of all time, surpassing Hurricane Charley, which caused an inflation-adjusted $8.8 billion in insured losses when it struck Florida and the Carolinas in 2004.

Wall Street analysts that track the insurance industry say insurers will easily be able to absorb a loss of $5 billion to $10 billion. The 2012 hurricane season has been uneventful until now, and insurers are considered flush with cash.

Even at the low end of the Eqecat range, Sandy would become the 10th-most-expensive hurricane in history, surpassing last year's Hurricane Irene, which cost the insurance industry $4.3 billion.

By any measure, Sandy would cost far less than 2005's Hurricane Katrina. That storm caused $46.6 billion in losses in present-day dollars, the most-expensive natural disaster in U.S. history.