Severe Weather Preparedness - Part 2

Homeowners Insurance

Take time to review policy coverages, limitations, and exclusions. Exclusions outline losses that are not covered by insurance. Most homeowners insurance contracts exclude flood-related damage, which may accompany severe weather. Flood insurance is available only as a separate, stand-alone insurance policy. Ask your local agent about this and other options to address gaps in your insurance protection. Insurers offer a variety of endorsements to tailor coverage for unique needs.

Confirm policy limits provide sufficient coverage for your dwelling, detached structures, and personal property. It is best to insure your home for its full replacement cost. Replacement cost refers to the cost of rebuilding the house using like materials, without subtracting for depreciation (age, wear, and tear). Insuring below replacement cost could result in a claim settlement much less than necessary to rebuild or repair the damage. The amount of coverage available for detached structures, personal property, and loss of use is based on the dwelling limit.

Next, check loss settlement terms and claim investigation, provide proof of loss, and more. Note the policy deductible. Some contracts also have a separate, higher deductible (often a percent of the dwelling coverage limit) that applies only to windstorm losses. Set aside savings to cover your out-of-pocket obligation.

Prepare a room by room personal property inventory. Note the year, make, model and purchase price for each belonging. Include receipts, photos, or videos whenever possible. Save this detailed record on a flash-drive and store it in a safe deposit box.

Auto Insurance

Your auto policy must have comprehensive (other than collision) on the damaged vehicle to be covered for loss related to hail, fallen branches, or other wind-related causes.

A deductible typically applies.

Neighbors are rarely responsible for damage to your car from fallen trees or limbs. A severe storm is an 'Act of God' and does not involve negligence.