As Disasters Increase in Scope and Cost, Revisit Your Homeowner's Coverage

In 2017, the U.S. experienced one of the most disaster-filled years in history, with tens of thousands of people losing their homes and countless others temporarily displaced.

The insurance industry is expecting the trend to continue, based on climate forecasts and the history of natural disasters and their costs over the past 10 years.

The number and size of tornadoes has also been on the upswing. The tornado season in 2017 started exceptionally early, having the second most-active January since records began in 1950, and one of the most active first quarters in recorded history. This part of Iowa was no exception.

Despite this, a new survey by Clearsurance found that while nearly 90% of homeowners expressed heightened concern over potential damage to their homes from natural disasters, only 58% had taken steps to review their coverage to see if it was adequate.

While you may think that your homeowner's policy will coverer you if a natural disaster strikes, you may not in fact be covered. If you live in or nearby an area that's been affected by a natural disaster in the last 10 years, you should talk to us about reviewing your coverage and risk picture.

Tornado belts

If you are worried about damage and claims arising from tornadoes and spring storm conditions like hail, rain or windstorms, most standard home and car insurance has basic provisions for tornadoes (which are windstorms) and various weather-related types of risks.

But the type of coverage you have can make a difference of thousands of dollars in how much you get paid in a claim. The biggest risk you may face if your home suffers major damage during a severe storm or tornado is being underinsured.

Flooding

Most states have some flood risk-prone areas and if you live in a designated floodplain, your mortgage lender will require that you carry flood insurance. Mostly, the main insurer for flood insurers is the National Flood Insurance Protection Program, although in some regions, a select few private insurers are in the market.

But, just because you don't live in a floodplain doesn't mean you are 100% safe from flooding. You are at risk if you live near a river, regardless of the levee or weir protection system in place in your community, as weather and rainstorms are getting more unpredictable.

Flood insurance protects two types of property: the structure of your home and the contents.

Whenever you purchase a flood insurance policy, it takes 30 days for it to take effect. So, if you fear that your home will be inundated, be aware that you can't benefit from coverage purchased say just a week before such an event.

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