Updated June 1, 2018 . AmFam Team
When severe weather strikes, the first thing on your mind should be the safety of the people you love. And when forces of nature threaten your home and the things you own, you shouldn’t be worried — because you’ve already prepared your insurance policies for any damage that might occur.
Here are some steps you can take long before a storm hits to protect your property.
To start, it’s important to know how your home insurance policy protects you from different types of damage caused by storms. There are a variety of coverages that your home insurance policy is equipped with to protect your home:
Dwelling coverage. If your home faces damage from a storm, dwelling coverage pays to repair or rebuild your home.
Other structures coverage. If damage from a storm occurred to detached structures on your property, like a shed, garage, gazebo or fence, your other structures coverage will help cover the cost to repair or rebuild them.
Personal property coverage. Sometimes storm damage is so severe, like from a tornado or wind, it can cause damage to the personal property in your home. Personal property coverage covers your personal belongings, including furniture, clothing and appliances, if they’re damaged or destroyed.
Loss of use coverage. Also known as additional living expense, loss of use coverage pays for additional living expenses if your home is uninhabitable after a storm. You’ll learn more about this below.
Your personal property coverage protects the belongings in your home from damage caused by a storm, and having a home inventory of your belongings will make filing a claim a lot easier. Take photos of your things and save them to a computer, flash drive or somewhere you can easily access them, electronically or physically. Include items that might be in other buildings on your property, like a shed or a garage. You can also take inventory of your belongings using this helpful checklist (Opens in a new tab).
In order to make certain that your personal items and the buildings they’re in are properly protected, speak with your insurance agent. Even if you don’t own your home, you can still protect what’s inside of it with American Family renters insurance (Opens in a new tab). While you won’t need coverage to protect the building you live in, you can cover the costs of replacing your treasured possessions that make your rental space your home.Review Your Homeowners Insurance
Your home is most likely the most expensive thing you own, so make sure you have insured it for what it would cost to rebuild. If your home would need to be completely rebuilt, you’d probably want it to be the same size and have the same features. If it’s not properly insured, you could be risking taking on the financial and emotional toll of having to rebuild a lesser home.
Take the time to set up a personal insurance review with your agent and learn what you need to do to better protect your home.Know What You’re Covered For
Fully understanding your insurance policies can reduce your stress before, during and after a storm. No one wants to play the hectic mind game of “am I covered?”, so contact your agent, get copies of your policies and walk through your coverages. You can get basic information on types of weather-related coverage here, but your agent can give you pinpoint specifics on your personal coverages.
Rental car reimbursement coverage. Preparing for a severe weather event doesn’t just include your homeowners policy — your vehicle could be damaged, too. And if it is, you might need a car to get your kids to school and get you to work while it’s in the shop. Ask your American Family agent about rental car reimbursement coverage so you don’t get stuck with a huge rental car bill while your car is out of commission.
Power outages. If the power goes out, you could be stuck with spoiled food in your refrigerator. This is built into your homeowners coverage and will help you re-fill your fridge when the power comes back on.
Living expenses. In more serious cases, you might not be able to live in your home while it’s undergoing repairs. Whether you’re staying with family or in a hotel, your policy includes loss of use coverage, which means you’re eligible to receive additional living expenses to cover the increased costs that are a result of your home being uninhabitable. Speak with your American Family Insurance agent to see where your limit stands, and if you should increase it.
Thunder, lightning and heavy winds aren’t the only types of severe weather. Many different versions of Mother Nature’s worst can cause turbulence in your life. Consider discussing the following severe weather events with your agent to see if any additional types of coverage are worth considering.
Flooding. Flood insurance is not included in your homeowner’s policy, but it can happen almost anywhere — consider looking into purchasing a flood insurance policy to make sure you’re prepared, no matter how unlikely a flood might seem.
Ice, sleet and snow. In addition to the havoc these three cold weather villains can wreak on roadways, they sometimes do damage elsewhere. Whether snow collapses a roof, or the cold freezes your pipes, potential damage from these types of incidents are covered by your homeowners policy.
Your deductible is the amount of money you’ll pay prior to your policy paying to fix your damages, so you’ll want to keep at least that amount handy in case something happens. Discuss the specifics with your agent so you don’t have any surprises when you make your claim.
The better you know the claims process, the smoother and less stressful it’ll be! The sooner you make your claim, the quicker our claims team can get on site and assess the damage, and the faster you can get your life back to normal. Talk with your agent today about properly protecting the things that matter most to you.
Your American Family Insurance agent can help you prepare for the worst that weather brings — contact your agent today (Opens in a new tab) to make sure your policies are set to protect what matters most.