Does Your Home Insurance Cover Tornado Damage

Written by , June 1, 2011

Does Your Home Insurance Cover Tornado DamageIf you’ve been through a tornado, know someone who has, or have even seen pictures of the aftermath on the news recently, you know that it can be devastating. Tornados have been known to take out entire towns in just a few minutes. Thanks to early warning systems any loss of life is usually minimal, but property loss can be heavy.

Those who have homeowners insurance rarely think about tornado coverage until it’s too late. The good news is that tornado damage is included in almost every standard policy. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of your losses will be covered.

Here is some advice on things you need to know about home insurance and tornados.

  • If you’re a renter, you’ll need renter’s insurance to cover your losses in the event of a tornado. Renter’s insurance covers your possessions from theft or damage in general, so it’s always a good thing to have. Policies are usually quite affordable.
  • Damage from the tornado itself, and the rain that enters your home due to tornado damage, should be covered by the average home insurance policy, although it’s better to ask than assume. But tornados almost always occur during heavy storms, and flooding, hail or damage from electrical surges due to lightning strikes may not be covered. Talk to your insurance agent about coverage for these hazards.
  • Make sure that your insurance company knows about improvements to your home as soon as they are made. It may raise your premiums, but it will also ensure that those improvements are properly covered in the event of a tornado. So make it a point to report the improvements to your agent and take photos of them for your records.
  • Most home insurance policies cover personal property, but there are usually limits on the coverage. If the value of your property exceeds those limits, you may not be fully reimbursed unless you purchase extra coverage. Expensive items such as jewelry or computers may have to be insured separately.
  • “Actual Cash Value” policies only cover each item up to its value at the time of loss. “Replacement Cost Coverage” covers the amount it would cost to buy a comparable item at retail. The latter is the better coverage to have, and it shouldn’t raise your premiums very much.
  • If you haven’t already made a list and taken photographs of your personal property, do so as soon as possible. You’ll need proof of what you own if disaster strikes. Otherwise you may not be properly reimbursed. Keeping your list and photographs in a safe deposit box will ensure that they will be there if you need them.
  • Even if you live in an area where tornados rarely strike, it’s important to have all of the coverage you need just in case. Although there are certain parts of the country that are more prone to tornados than others, no area is immune to them. As always, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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