Tornadoes Can Devastate Communities. Personal Insurance for Your Home and Auto Can Help You Rebuild.

Category: Personal Insurance

About 1,200 tornadoes touch down in the U.S. in an average year, causing billions of dollars in property damage as well as devastating injuries and fatalities. According to the Insurance Information Institute, tornadoes are the costliest type of natural disaster in the country.

On May 20, 2013, a massive EF5 tornado struck Moore, OK and nearby communities, killing 23 people and injuring 377 others. In addition, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management reported that the storm destroyed 1,150 homes and caused an estimated $2 billion in damage.

It was not the first time Moore, OK was hit by a tornado. On May 3, 1999, a total of 74 tornadoes pummeled parts of Kansas and OK—including Moore—leaving 46 dead in both states. You can learn more about the Oklahoma storms and tornadoes in general at CNN.com.

The 2013 Moore tornado was captured on live television and broadcast around the world, sending tornadoes and the devastation they bring to communities to the forefront of the national conversation. How can we possibly prevent this type of disaster? How will the people of Moore ever rebuild?

Protect Your Property and Speed Recovery

Unfortunately there is nothing anyone can do to prevent tornadoes from occurring. But if you live in a tornado-prone area, there are a lot of things you can do to ensure you can rebuild your home and replace your belongings in the event of a loss. Being prepared will go a long way towards expediting the claims process.

Have the Right Home and Auto Insurance

Standard homeowners insurance policies cover wind damage caused by thunderstorms and tornadoes to the structure of a building and its contents. It is important that the coverage limits of the policy properly reflect the true cost of rebuilding the structure and fully replacing your personal belongings.

Homeowners insurance also provides coverage for additional living expenses, which pays the costs of living away from home if you cannot live in your house while it is being repaired or rebuilt. This should cover hotel bills, restaurant meals and other living expenses that you would not otherwise incur.

Vehicles damaged by a tornado are covered in the comprehensive portion of a standard auto insurance policy.

Be Prepared and Stay Organized to Expedite Claims

The aftermath of a tornado can be chaotic, stressful and very difficult. You will need to provide a detailed report of your losses to your insurance agent or other insurance company representative. It will be easier to do this if you have done a few things in advance and know what to expect.

• If it’s safe, take pictures of the damage.
• Prepare a detailed inventory of all of your damaged or destroyed personal property. This inventory should include a description of each item, the purchase date or age of the items and the estimated replacement costs. Taking the time to prepare a home inventory before a disaster happens will make this process much easier and will greatly speed the recovery process.
• If you can, make temporary repairs to prevent further damage. Save any receipts for the cost of these repairs so that your insurance company can reimburse you.
• Obtain an estimate for permanent repairs to your home from a licensed contractor.
• Keep records and receipts for all of your living expenses if you need to live away from your home while it is being repaired or rebuilt. 

It is a simple but unfortunate fact: residents of Kansas, Oklahoma and many other states need to be prepared for tornadoes. First, know what to do to keep yourself and your family safe. Then, be sure you know what your homeowners insurance covers in the event that one of these powerful storms strikes near your home. Are your coverage limits too sufficient to replace your home and all of your belongings? Have you prepared a home inventory? Contact us today to get started on making sure you are prepared for the worst.

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