The summer storm season is here. There has been record flooding, a rash of tornadoes, and an increase of insurance claims due to hail in many areas of the country. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates that hail causes $1 billion dollars in damage to property and crops every year, and the combination of wind, hail, and flood account for over $16 billion in insured damage. Severe weather losses have risen dramatically in the past few years due to increased repair costs and the severity of the storms.
Are you prepared? A major storm is no time to find your possessions are below the water line or you have nothing to cover your windows if they should be blown or broken out. Here are things you can do now:
- Survey your property for flood potential, levees, etc.
- Make sure trees on your property are healthy and properly trimmed
- Check and clean gutters and downspouts
- Have your roof inspected to make sure it is still waterproof and will shed excess rain
- Install a sump pump in basements ( many experts recommend a second battery-powered sump pump in case of excess water or if there’s a power outage)
- Install shutters to protect your home from high winds and hail
- If you don’t have shutters, make sure you have boards 5/8 exterior grade or marine plywood to cover windows and doors
- Make sure you have flood and sewage backup coverage
- If possible, park your vehicle in a covered spot or in a garage
- Purchase a hail-resistant cover for your vehicle
- Complete a home inventory
- Prepare an evacuation kit
- Know safe evacuation routes and have a family communication plan if you get separated
Before the next storm hits, it’s important to make sure you have the proper insurance and understand what is and is not covered. Here are things you need to know:
- Most homeowners insurance does not cover the flooding from high water. Separate flood insurance needs to be purchased.
- Most homeowners insurance covers hail, wind and lightning damage to your property, often with a deductible that you pay first.
- You must have comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy to cover your vehicle from hail, flood, or damage from falling trees or limbs. It also usually comes with a deductible.
Here is what you should do if you suspect your home or car has suffered storm damage:
- Document the time, date and severity of the storm
- Contact your insurance company
- Work only with licensed contractors for repairs and check with the Better Business Bureau to prevent fraud
This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.