The Missouri Department of Insurance encourages Missourians to be prepared for dangerous storms during Missouri Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 4-10. As spring is quickly approaching, now is the time for consumers to review their policies to make sure they have adequate coverage, and to prepare a home inventory.
“The widespread flooding and tornado activity that occurred last year is a great example of why we need to make sure we have the necessary insurance coverage in place before it’s too late and the damage occurs,” said Chlora Lindley-Myers, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance. “Many Missourians sustained damage, but did not have appropriate insurance and therefore were out of pocket the costs for repairs. Now is the time to talk with your agent to make sure you are covered in the event a storm, flooding or an earthquake damages your home.”
Policy limits on homes and belongings can become outdated. A homeowner’s insurance policy that’s more than five years old may not cover the entire cost associated with rebuilding a home or replacing lost or damaged possessions. Homeowners should make it a habit to review their policy limits annually to ensure they are better protected from unpredictable events. Get more information.
A landlord’s insurance policy usually covers the structure of the building but not the possessions of the tenant. If you are renting an apartment, condo or house, consider renters insurance. With premiums averaging $8-21 per month for $20,000 to $30,000 worth of coverage, renters insurance is an affordable way to protect your belongings. Get more information.
Prepare a home inventory
The department also strongly encourages consumers to prepare a list of their belongings. A home inventory can help determine the level of coverage needed before disaster strikes, and it can make it easier to file a claim.
There are several ways to start building a home inventory. The Department of Insurance offers a free home inventory booklet. If you are using an electronic or paper spreadsheet, remember to take pictures of your belongings, and save them, along with your home inventory, in a safe, fireproof place.
You can also download the free home inventory app for iPhone or Android smartphones. The app guides you through capturing images, descriptions, bar codes and serial numbers, and then stores them electronically for safekeeping. The app even creates a backup file for email sharing.
What’s not covered
A standard homeowners and renters insurance policy doesn’t protect your home or belongings from damage associated with floods, earthquakes or sewer and drain backup. Ask your agent if you need this additional coverage.
To be covered by flood insurance, consumers need a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program. Policies have a 30-day waiting period before they’re effective. For more information about flood insurance, visit floodsmart.gov or call 888-379-9531.
For other tips about preparing for severe weather, visit the Department of Insurance’s severe weather page. To learn more about Severe Weather Awareness Week in Missouri, visit http://sema.dps.mo.gov.