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Do You Have Tornado Insurance?


With the seasons changing temperature, we are going to notice more tornadoes across the country. Tornadoes have already hit several towns this year in the Midwest. The answer to the question? If you have a homeowners insurance policy, yes, you have "tornado insurance."

Homeowners insurance policies cover your home and its contents for wind damage, including damage caused by cyclones. You've just got to be sure your coverage limits are enough to fully cover the cost of rebuilding and replacing your stuff.

April 27, 2011 was the deadliest day for tornadoes since a 1925 tornado outbreak killed more than 700 people in seven states.

Recent storms killed more than 300 people, largely in Alabama but also in five other southern states, leaving thousands homeless and without power.

To get your home fully rebuilt after total destruction you need "guaranteed replacement cost coverage."

Avoid home value-based coverage (the value of your home on the open market), unless you can afford to pay the difference after a disaster. Replacement cost coverage will fully rebuild your home and replace its contents at current market costs. The coverage can be tough to get in some high hazard risk areas, but if you live in areas with a high risk for tornadoes, hurricanes and other natural disasters, you need all the protection you can get.

Home-based business equipment and supplies, home improvements and upgrades adding extra square footage, antiques, collections, hobby materials and other valuables should be adequately insured and may require special coverage.

Below are some tips in order to make a disaster run smoother.

Much of the documents you may need should have been kept either in a disaster proof safe or away from the home, say in a safety deposit box

• Be prepared to give your representative a detailed description of the damage to your property. Your agent will report the loss to your insurance company or to a qualified adjuster who will arrange an inspection of the site.

• Take photographs or videos of the damaged property. Visual documentation helps speed the claims process and assists the adjuster in his or her investigation.

• Prepare a detailed inventory of all personal property. Make one copy for yourself and another for the adjuster or insurance agent. The list should be as complete as possible, including a description of the items, dates of purchase or approximate age, cost at time of purchase and estimated replacement cost. Again, you should always keep an inventory of your personal property, just for this reason. After a disaster, your emotions will play havoc on your memory and make it difficult to detail all that you owned.

• When possible, collect canceled checks, invoices, receipts or other papers that will assist the adjuster in obtaining the value of the destroyed property. Again you need a disaster-proof safe at home or a safety deposit box at a bank to protect your valuable papers.

• Make what temporary repairs you can. Cover broken windows and damaged roofs and walls to prevent additional damage and protect you from liability. Save receipts for any supplies and materials you buy. Your insurance company will reimburse you for reasonable expenses for temporary repairs.

• Secure a detailed estimate for permanent repairs to your home from a licensed contractor and give it to the adjuster. The estimate should contain the proposed repairs, repair costs and replacement prices with great detail.

• If your home is uninhabitable, keep a record of all expenses including those from a hotel or motel and restaurants. 


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