Are you prepared for severe weather, tornadoes?
On average, Minnesota's severe weather season sees 40 tornadoes per year creating the potential for property damage, financial distress, and personal danger for families. Severe Weather Awareness Week was created to provide an opportunity for households to review their emergency procedures and prepare for weather-related hazards.
That's why the Minnesota Department of Commerce is reminding households to review their insurance policies to ensure their coverage is appropriate to minimize the potential damage if and when severe weather strikes.
"Severe Weather Awareness Week reminds everyone that in the blink of an eye, storms can wreak havoc causing billions of dollars in damage to our homes and our communities," said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. "Take time now to review your home and business insurance needs - having the appropriate coverage can mean the difference between financial recovery after a storm or financial disaster."
The Commerce Department has created a one-stop-shop Disaster Information Center to provide Minnesotans with valuable information to financially prepare for a disaster, as well as the needed information to help consumers make informed insurance decisions as they recover from a natural disaster. Some of the key information included on the website
Complete a Home Inventory
The Department of Commerce urges consumers to take inventory of their belongings ahead of the summer storm season. Research suggests that 48 percent of consumers do not have an inventory of their possessions. Of those who do, 32 percent have no photos and 58 percent have no receipts.
This Home Inventory Checklist walks consumers through each room of their home, helping compile a list of their property. By completing the checklist, homeowners who file a claim or qualify for assistance will know what they had in their home that may need to be replaced. Consumers can also download the free myHOME Scr.APP.book app for iPhone® users by visiting the iTunes® App Store or searching 'NAIC' in the app store from their phone.
Information for Renters
If you rent and you do not have renter's insurance, you may want to consider purchasing coverage. Renter's insurance is relatively inexpensive and portable. The average renter's insurance policy costs between $15 and $30 per month and can cover everything from electronics to clothing to household appliances. Replacing all your possessions in the wake of a storm will cost much more.
Storms can damage autos in a number of ways: hail damage to the exterior and glass; wind driven debris damage; damage from fallen trees; and tornado damage. Coverage for these types of losses is provided by your policy under the Comprehensive portion of the auto policy. Some policies call this coverage Other than Collision. Ask your insurance agent how much coverage you have. For more information about auto insurance, click here.
What to Do After a Storm
If a storm damages your property, follow these simple steps:
· Be safe. Look out for downed power lines, etc. Do not try to go into an area until the official time is given.
· Call your insurance company to report the damage. They will send out adjusters to review the damage and assess the loss. Take photos of the damage and remove personal property if your home cannot be secured. Do not dispose of property until an insurance adjuster has reviewed it for your claim. Many policies include reimbursement for storage costs incurred until your home is repaired.
· Beware of storm-chasing contractors. Do not agree to a contract without checking their references and checking with the Department of Labor's Residential Contractors Division at (651) 284-5069.
· Call the Minnesota Department of Commerce. For questions regarding insurance call the Minnesota Department of Commerce Consumer Response Team at (651) 296-2488 or (800) 657-3602.