Last year, the Midwest saw catastrophic weather that continued through October, and the insurance industry saw a marked increase in declared catastrophes. So far, this year has also been extreme with insurance companies reporting millions in losses in Ohio.
Across the county by the end of May, there had been more than 1,200 tornadoes, including some of the most powerful and deadly ever recorded. The United States generally sees that many tornadoes in an entire year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Now might be a good time to consider whether you have replacement cost coverage on your home. While it’s true that the market price of many homes has declined, the cost of nearly all building materials continues to rise which means, so has the cost of construction.
According to Marshall & Swift, more than half of all homes are underinsured by more than 20%, in part because updates to coverage aren’t made after homeowners make improvements to their homes.
In addition to updates to your coverage, here are several preventative measures that you can take to help keep the things you value the most, safe:
- Use a fire-proof and water-proof safe to protect important paper documents
- Back up important electronic documents with an offsite data storage company to ensure documents can be retrieved if your home computer and storage media are damaged or destroyed
- Have a battery-operated radio, flashlight and fresh batteries in your emergency kit
- Keep extra cash on hand in case ATMs are affected by extended power outages
- Move items in boxes off basement floors and store in plastic tubs to protect against moisture
- Perform regular maintenance such as making sure gutters and drains are clear to keep water away from the foundation of your house
- Avoid using candles during an emergency because of the fire hazard
- Have plenty of fresh water on hand – about 1 gallon per person per day, and don’t forget to have some for you pets
- Use surge protectors to protect electronic devices from electrical storms
- Check sump pumps to make sure they function properly to avoid backups
- Ensure smoke/fire/carbon monoxide detectors are working and they have fresh batteries
- Keep a camera handy to take pictures of damage
Based on weather patterns the past few years, it certainly appears major storms are becoming more frequent. We hope you never experience a catastrophe, but if you do, we want to make sure you’re as prepared as possible.