Insurance Steps to Take Before a Tornado
While no one wants to consider the possibility of a tornado hitting their home, it only takes one storm cell moving in an unexpected path to cause significant damage. If you don’t want to risk being out-of-pocket for any damage a severe storm can cause, be sure to take these insurance steps before a tornado heads to your neighborhood.
Review your policy
Understanding exactly what your home insurance policy covers and, more importantly, what it does not is a critical first step. While the wind damage a tornado creates is usually covered by most policies, this may not always be the case when you live in a coastal town. If you’ve read your policy from cover to cover and are still fuzzy on what certain provisions mean, meet with your agent clarify things.
It’s also a good idea to do a little research on local weather patterns – especially when you’re new to the area – so that you’ll have a better idea of what kind of weather typically accompanies tornados. If flooding is common, you may find it necessary to purchase a separate flood policy in order to obtain complete storm damage coverage.
Create an inventory
After a tornado, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to get into your property to take stock of the damage to your personal belongings. In some cases, a powerful tornado will leave nothing but a pile of debris where a home used to stand. This means that you’ll have to file your insurance claim off memory.
Since trying to remember every item in your home after a traumatic event is difficult, it’s best to complete an inventory of the items in your home. While you don’t have to create a line item for every pair of shoes in your closet, recording all your furniture, electronics and valuables – with model numbers when applicable – can help to expedite the claims process. It’s also a good idea to take pictures of your valuables to ensure you don’t run into any issues.
Safeguard important documents
Since the filing cabinet in your home office may not make it out of a tornado unscathed, it’s best to have an off-site location like a safe deposit box where you can keep your important documents. Documents you’ll want to safeguard may include:
- Bank statements
- Birth certificates
- Insurance policies
- Marriage license
- Personal property inventory and pictures
- Social security cards.
Unfortunately, keeping everything only in your safe deposit box can be problematic since tornados don’t only occur during regular business hours. To ensure you’ll always have immediate access to the information you need most after a storm, consider keeping digital copies of your insurance policy and home inventory on an online file storage site.