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Plan ahead to protect yourself from severe weather
In Minnesota, spring showers can suddenly turn into severe storms that threaten lives and property. It’s important for Minnesotans to plan ahead to protect themselves and their homes, both in advance of a severe storm and in the event that disaster strikes.
During 2017 Severe Weather Awareness Week (April 13-17), Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman is encouraging Minnesotans to take a few simple steps to manage the financial impact in case of a tornado, flooding or other severe weather.
“When severe weather strikes, having the right insurance coverage can mean the difference between financial recovery and financial disaster,” said Rothman, whose agency regulates insurance companies in the state. “Now is the time for Minnesotans to review their insurance needs and coverage to make sure they are protected.”
The Commerce Department website (mn.gov/commerce) features a Disaster Information Center with guidance about how you can plan ahead and what to do if you suffer storm damage.
Rothman also offers the following tips to help Minnesotans prepare for severe weather.
Make a home inventory
Maintaining a complete, accurate and up-to-date inventory of the contents of your home will help you determine what insurance coverage you need and make it easier to file a claim if you suffer storm damage.
The Commerce website has an easy-touse home inventory checklist that can be printed out. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) also offers a free smartphone app to help you compile a detailed image library of your personal possessions and store it electronically for safekeeping.
Another option is to make a video tour of your home. Be sure you save a copy in a secure place where it can be easily retrieved if your home is damaged.
Review and update your homeowners insurance coverage
Policy limits on homes and belongings can become outdated, especially if you have remodeled or added new items to your home. A policy that is more than five years old may not cover the entire cost associated with rebuilding your home or replacing lost or damaged possessions. Review your policy each year to make sure you have the protection you need.
If you rent, consider renters insurance. Your landlord’s insurance policy typically covers only the building structure, but not your possessions as a tenant.
Decide on flood insurance
A standard homeowners or renters insurance policy will not cover flood damage. For coverage against flood risk, you need to purchase a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program. Policies have a 30-day waiting period before they take effect. For more information, visit floodsmart.gov or call 888-379-9531.
Check your auto coverage
Hail, falling trees or flooding can result in costly damage, even a total loss, for your vehicle. If you want to be protected, make sure you have “Comprehensive” or “Other than Collision” in your auto policy.
If you have a question or concern about insurance, contact the Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center by email at email@example.com or by phone at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 (Greater Minnesota).