Thursday, September 4, 2014

Insurance Tips Before and After A Disaster

“If only I knew.” Four words spoken after disasters by people who’ve learned they don’t have the insurance coverage they thought they had. In our agency, we never want you to be in that situation, so here are some tips to help.

Advice you need before a disaster

You might have purchased your insurance a long time ago. Do you remember the coverage choices you made and your deductibles, endorsements and exclusions? These details can make or break a family after a disaster, so take a few minutes to call us to see if your coverage fits your current needs. Be sure to report life changes and significant purchases or home improvements.

Do you know how much coverage you have if your home or possessions are damaged by rain, hail, lightning or tornadoes? If your roof was damaged in a storm, would it be repaired or replaced? How soon after a storm do you need to report a loss? Are you aware that most renters and homeowners policies don’t cover floods or earthquakes? Do you have loss-of-use coverage in case you have to vacate your home temporarily? If a tree falls on your car, do you have the right auto coverage?

If you don’t know the answers, it’s important to call us to learn what your policy specifies.  Another helpful tip is to create a home inventory every few years. It sounds like a headache, but anyone who has filed a claim will vouch for its value, and technology has made the process quick and easy. Videotape or photograph your possessions room by room. Get close-ups of valuable items, and keep receipts. Create an inventory by downloading an app or using a website like, recommended by the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (OCSWA). Store this inventory on the web or somewhere outside your home to keep it protected.

Insurance tips for after a disaster

Inspect your property and vehicles. Make a list of what is damaged and how. Take photos for documentation. And report your loss in a timely manner. Also take steps to protect possessions from further damage after the disaster.

If you need to move out of your residence temporarily, provide us with a phone number where we can call you. Find out the monetary limit your loss-of-use insurance covers before you choose a hotel. When you file a claim, back it up with written estimates and your home inventory information.  Prepare now, and your family will be grateful if there ever is a disaster.