WASHINGTON, D.C. — Although many states have already been experiencing strong storms and historic flooding, severe storm season is just getting started. Families and communities across the United States should prepare now in the event they are impacted by severe weather such as flooding, hail, tornadoes, and windstorms.
“Everyone tends to get spring fever in March, but Mother Nature generally likes to pack a few more punches as the weather warms up,” says Don Griffin, vice president, policy, research and international for the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA). “Each area of the country faces different weather-related threats but every family can take the same steps to be prepared. This includes having a plan for severe weather, making an emergency kit, creating a home inventory and reviewing or updating your insurance policy with your agent or company to make sure you have enough coverage.”
Hailstorm and tornado activity generally begins to peak this month, but Accuweather is calling for more than double the average number of tornadoes in March 2020. Additionally, spring flooding is a major concern. Heavy rains and melting snow in some areas can quickly create dangerous flash floods.
Severe spring weather serves as a reminder to check your insurance coverage. Most tornado, windstorm, hail, and similar weather-related losses are covered by either homeowners, renters, or commercial property policies. Flood damage is not covered under a standard homeowners policy and must be purchased as a separate private policy or through the National Flood Insurance Program.
“Always keep your insurance agent or company’s contact information and your policy numbers in an easily accessible place. If you have damage from a severe weather related event, you can help expedite the recovery process by photographing the damage and making an inventory of what was lost or damaged,” added Griffin.
If your property is damaged during severe weather, call your insurance company or agent as soon as possible to begin the claims process. After a storm, be cautious of dishonest contractors who go door-to-door trying to take advantage of consumers who are in desperate need of repairs. These contractors often make false promises, take payment up front and never finish the work.
APCIA offers the following tips for preparing for severe storm season:
Create a detailed inventory of your home using your cell phone to take pictures and videos of your belongings. Include receipts along with descriptions of the home’s contents.
Keep your insurance policy and contact information for your insurance agent in a secure location that you can easily access.
Create an emergency kit and have a plan for severe weather.
Keep a fully charged cell phone with you at all times in case of emergency.
If you have a laptop, keep it close by as most insurance companies allow you to submit claims online.
Know your flood risk by determining if you live in a floodplain or an area that has previously flooded or is at risk of flooding. Talk with your insurance company or agent regarding purchasing flood insurance.
Review and update your insurance policy to make sure you have enough insurance coverage to fully recover if your home is damaged or destroyed. Again, flood insurance must typically be purchased as a separate policy.
Pay attention to weather alerts or flood warnings and be prepared to evacuate if needed.
For more tips and information, please visit APCIA’s Catastrophic Risks webpage.