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Get The Best Wind Insurance To Protect Your Home From Tornadoes And Other Wind Disasters
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Article 6 of 9 in Home Insurance and Disasters
Tornado or wind devastation can be complete, and you may never be able to fully recover, even if you have tornado insurance. However, if you have wind insurance to cover the destruction a tornado causes, then the aftermath becomes a little more manageable. It is important to make sure your home insurance gives you the wind insurance needed to cover tornado or wind damage.
Wind Insurance and Deductibles
Wind insurance provides coverage from tornado force winds and is included in your home insurance policy. Wind insurance commonly comes with a separate deductible, so before you purchase a policy make sure you are comfortable with the separate deductible amount. In certain regions of the country that are prone to devastating wind storms, the deductible built into the policy could be quite high in order to reduce the claim cost that insurance companies must pay. Your insurance company also may offer a home insurance rider for tornado damage or wind related claims that will give you a lower deductible and more coverage. This wind insurance rider may cost more, but if you live in regions that are prone to these storms, it could be worth the extra premium.
Windstorm Mitigation Inspection
There are ways to curb the cost on your wind insurance. Some insurance carriers will give discounts for having wind resistant construction features added to your home. To get this discount, the insurance company may request a windstorm mitigation inspection, which is performed and certified by an independent licensed expert for your state. Some of the requirements of this inspection and discount are as follows:
- Install roof coverings such as shingles that meet your state's board of contractors' requirements to reduce wind insurance claims.
- Roof decks that have been installed with large nails and close spacing.
- Hurricane or tornado clips/straps that hold the roof structure to the walls.
- Protection of openings such as windows and glass doors with impact resistant glazing or other protection systems to prevent blown out windows and further wind insurance damage.
- Installing secondary water resistant covering that prevents the roof from leaking if the roof covering is blown off in a windstorm.
There could be other requirements for your state or for your insurance carrier in order to obtain this credit. Contact your state department of insurance or your insurance company to find out the requirements for your state in order to qualify for this discount.
Wind Insurance Claims
If you have a tornado related claim, then you need to follow a few important steps to make the recovery process as easy as possible:
- Make sure you report your damage right away.
- Keep accurate records! Note any conversations and insurance company promises. Hold on to any and all written correspondence such as emails or letters. Take photos of damage, and always have a copy of your policy handy.
- If you are forced to live in a temporary residence due to your damage, make sure your insurance company has any and all your contact information -this includes an address to send your claim check!
- Keep your claim number handy. During a time of disaster, the insurance company is swamped with claims-thousands of claims! Put your claim number on any documentation you send your insurance company including emails.
- Your insurance company will send property loss forms for you to document all personal property that has been damaged or destroyed. Fill these out completely and return them as soon as possible.
- Beware of any contractors immediately after the damage who offer expensive temporary repairs or clean up debris services. In the aftermath of natural disasters, contractor fraud is a serious concern.
- Contact your insurance company before signing any contract making you responsible for payment in order to see what is covered. Debris removal is covered under your home insurance, however, the payment is capped at a limit. Make sure you understand your coverage and your limits so you do not get stuck paying out of your pocket.
When you file any home insurance claim, you need to take your time and get the process done correctly. This is especially true in the aftermath of a tornado or windstorm when the damage is complete. When you work with your insurance claims adjuster, keep in mind that they do not work for you! The adjuster works for the insurance company which saves money by paying you less. The more prepared you are, the more likely you are to avoid being underpaid for your claim, so keep a level head and be ready to work through a potentially long process. If you feel you have been cheated out of a settlement you deserve, click here and an experienced home insurance attorney will review your case for free.
The Best Windstorm Insurance is Preparation!
Amidst the disaster of a tornado, it may be hard to think about claim documentation. Lack of electricity, phone service and other basic essentials such as running water and shelter can all make thinking about an insurance claim an afterthought. That is why perhaps the best windstorm insurance could be advanced preparation. Tornado preparedness before a devastating tornado may be your best windstorm insurance ensuring that you have ease in filing a claim and that you have no surprises. Follow these tips:
- Check your overall coverage limit on the house, and any sub coverage which protects your home contents, surrounding structures, and any other parts of your property that can be damaged. You want to make sure you have adequate coverage limits in order to pay for any losses you sustain in a wind insurance claim. Have your agent or insurance company run a replacement cost estimation on your home annually. Make sure your coverage is even with the value of your home each year. There is a policy rider call an inflation guard rider which essential will bump your coverage amount up every year to help it keep up with inflation. This rider adds a few dollars to your premium annually, but it eliminates any worry that your limit will not keep up with your home's value.
- Make sure all your coverage is at replacement cost and not ACV (actual cash value).
- Review your additional living expense coverage. This section of your home insurance policy is very important. It pays for you to stay in a hotel or apartment (for prolonged stays) if your home is left uninhabitable by the winds. It is not unheard of for homeowners to be displaced from their home for 6 months to a year. This coverage does have a limit however, typically 20% of your overall coverage. This means a house that has a replacement cost value of $250,000 would have additional living expense coverage of $50,000. Make sure you have enough coverage to take care of you and your family if displaced.
- It can be very hard in the after math of a disaster to think of everything that was lost in your home. Before disaster strikes, pull together and keep a list of all property inside your home with receipts and photographs before a major claim. It is good to take a video of your home inside and out to document everything that has been lost. There are several software packages on the market that will walk you through a do-it-yourself home inventory list that can accompany your photo DVD. It will allow you to import pictures as well as scan receipts and appraisals. For about $50 bucks, you can have a whole house inventoried in no time! Just hand it over to your insurance company during the wind insurance claim process.
- If you are planning to build or purchase a home in a tornado prone area, consider building a brick home or one that contains wind resistant items to save you money on your wind insurance as well as to help diminish the chance of a claim.
As you shop for a wind insurance policy, you should compare quotes in order to find the best plan for you. Click here to get started with a free quote today!