While it’s important to know how to keep yourself and your family safe from physical harm during severe weather events, preparation for these weather emergencies doesn’t end there. The Missouri Department of Insurance wants consumers to know the importance of making sure they’re adequately covered BEFORE a severe weather event occurs.
“We want all Missouri residents to be as prepared as possible as we head into severe weather season,” said Chlora Lindley-Myers, Director of the Missouri Department of Insurance. “Having the right insurance coverage can make the difference between fully recovering from one of these events and being financially ruined. We want to make sure we’re doing all we can to ensure consumers understand their coverage.”
Although you may already have a homeowners or renters insurance policy, make sure you know exactly what it covers. If you don’t own a policy, arrange to purchase one as soon as possible in order to protect yourself and your family from a devastating loss. Waiting until a storm arrives may be too late to protect your home and belongings.
It’s important to review your policy each year to make sure your coverage is adequate. It’s easy to forget about important purchases or additions you’ve made to your home and your current level of coverage may not be enough to replace what you own. And, not all policies and levels of coverage are equal – in fact, they vary greatly. While one policy may cover full replacement of a damaged roof, another policy may depreciate the coverage based on the age of the roof.
Consumers should make sure they know what their deductible is and understand how a deductible works. A deductible is the part or amount of the claim you are responsible for. In other words, insurance companies will deduct this amount from any claim settlement amounts they pay to you or on your behalf. So if your insurance policy has a $1,000 deductible, that means you have agreed to pay $1,000 out of your pocket for the damage to your home.
Flood damage is not covered by standard homeowners policies. If you live in an area prone to flooding, you will need to purchase a federal flood insurance policy through your agent to cover flood damage. Consumers should do this as early as possible, as there is typically a 30-day waiting period from the date of purchase before a policy goes into effect.
Being prepared will make it easier for you to file a claim following a severe weather event. Complete a detailed inventory of your household furnishings and take photos of each room in your home. Make lists of other valuables and equipment that don’t appear in the photos. Keep these materials in a safe place outside your home, such as a safe deposit box.