Tornadoes: Know What Your Insurance Covers and How Much You Need

In an average year, over 800 tornadoes are reported nationwide… although this number seems to be growing in recent years.  Oftentimes, homes close to a tornado are damaged or destroyed by wind, rain, and flying debris rather than the actual tornado itself.  Whether your property is completely destroyed or is in need of repair, your insurance policy can cover either cost. 

Once a year, you should review your insurance policy to make sure you have enough coverage to rebuild your home based on current construction costs.  Often homeowners think that an increased amount of coverage only corresponds with inflation.  While there is some truth to that, this increase primarily follows the cost of construction items – which may change independent of inflation or deflation. 

As the result of storm damage you may find that you can’t reside in your home until further repair.  Your policy may actually pay additional living expenses to accommodate this situation.  You should review your policy’s detailed coverage explanation for this type of coverage.

Take Action to Minimize Damage

You certainly can’t guarantee that your home or business will be tornado-proof, but there are measures that can be taken to improve your chances of coming out unscathed.

  • Start at the top – your roof. Monitor any areas that need repair.  If replacing a roof entirely, select materials that are designed to withstand high wind.
  • Windows:  select impact-resistant window systems more capable of withstanding high winds. 
  • Be sure that door frames are securely anchored to wall framing.
  • Check that your doors have at least three hinges and a deadbolt security lock is in place with at least a one-inch bolt.

 

If a Tornado is Headed Your Way

 

  • If you are inside, move to an underground shelter, or interior room or hallway on the lowest floor.
  • Stay away from windows and corners.
  • If you are in a car, get out immediately and find safe shelter or lie flat in a ditch. Do not take shelter under an overpass or bridge.
  • Flying debris causes most injuries and fatalities, so use your arms to protect your head and neck.

 


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