Will your home insurance take on a tornado?
It seems to appear out of nowhere and is gone within minutes, but in that short time a tornado can devastate a home. The vital question is: Can your home withstand its winds?
About 1,000 tornadoes touch down in the U.S. in an average year, causing billions of dollars in insured losses, according to the Insurance information Institute. These monster storms – which can wipe out neighborhoods and small towns – are the costliest type of natural disaster for insurers.
Here are five steps for assessing your insurance needs in the face of tornadoes.
- Know Your Coverage – Unlike floods or earthquakes, tornadoes don’t require a special type of insurance. A basic homeowners policy should cover the damage inflicted by a tornado, whether it’s from wind or rain. Still, homeowners concerned about tornadoes should make sure their policies match their financial needs.For example, a policy with a higher deductible likely will translate into lower premiums, but you will end up paying more out of your own pocket if a tornado damages or destroys your house. Make sure you can cover the deductible. Otherwise, consider a higher premium with a smaller deductible.It’s a good idea to review your replacement cost coverage with your agent. This coverage replaces the damage to the home with materials that are similar in quality and kind.
- Take Inventory - Make a list of what you have, to ensure your possessions are covered adequately. Keep receipts if possible, especially for more expensive belongings. Take photos of your possessions as well and keep your records in a safe place.
- Consider Your Valuables & Car - Your home insurance will cover personal property up to a limit. Valuable items such as coin collections, jewelry, fine art etc. should be appraised. If your car is damaged the comprehensive portion of your auto policy should take care of any damage from a tornado’s wind or hail, vandalism and theft.
- Don’t Forget Living Expenses - This type of coverage helps cover the cost of staying in a hotel or paying rent for temporary housing. It can even cover meal expenses while your family is displaced.
- What To Do In The Aftermath - After making sure your family is safe, get in touch with your insurer or agent. Often, insurance companies will send out emergency response teams. These representatives may issue checks or debit cards immediately, for food and housing. A claims adjuster will be sent to your home to assess the damage.