Check severe weather preparation, policy coverage
Kansans with years of experience watching the weather know that when March rolls around, it’s time to turn our attention to the skies — and to the weather reports.
March is the month when many state residents begin preparing for potential severe weather problems. That includes checking your insurance policies on personal property to make sure you have the coverage and information you need.
Recent weather data from the National Weather Service (NWS) supports the continuing need for preparation. The NWS, in its Severe Weather Awareness Week packet, says there were 102 tornadoes in the state in 2016, one above the 10-year average. The month of May last year had the most tornadoes, 63, with 34 occurring on one day, May 24.
But twisters are only part of our potential weather problems. Kansas Insurance Department (KID) statistics, through the years, indicate that during the spring and summer there is hardly a day when hail damage is not reported somewhere in the state. Factor in the ever-present wind, and our citizens contend with weather issues almost daily from March through August — and sometimes beyond.
According to company estimates compiled for KID, Kansans submitted a total of 51,708 property insurance claims in 2016 because of severe weather activity. Although the total estimated storm loss was at a 10-year low--$107.26 million—that is still a significant number of damaged homes, farms and outbuildings. Thank goodness only 12 injuries were reported, and, more importantly, no deaths occurred.
For video presentations of storm preparation and recovery topics, visit these KID YouTube presentations: “Before and after a storm” video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRC1mc5Sb1I; Personal home inventory video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGtspsL0iFo
Our KID staff has also compiled the following checklist of questions and statements that consumers and their insurance agents can review. These can help determine whether your insurance is ready for the Kansas spring and summer.
Ask yourself these questions
Do you have the right homeowners or renters insurance? Do you know what your policy covers? Is the amount of coverage adequate? Does it cover new additions or recent remodeling?
Check all limits, including coverage for contents. Keep your agent’s name and number available and easy to find, and periodically discuss coverage options with him or her.
Know your policy coverage exclusions
Not all policies cover the following: Water damage, including flood and surface damage, whether driven by wind or not; backup of sewer or drains; and sump pump failure. These are the most common exclusions. Riders for these problems may be available to add to your existing policy. Also, check your auto policy. Comprehensive coverage (other than collision) usually pays if damage is caused by wind, hail and/or flood.
Inventory your personal property
KID can provide you with a “Personal Home Inventory” booklet to help you list the contents of your home. Go online at www.ksinsurance.org, under “Finding a Publication,” to print a personal copy. Keep a hard copy of your inventory, sales receipts and video or photographs of your personal property in a secure place outside your home.
You can also download the MyHomeScr.APP.book application for your smartphone from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Get help if you need it
KID has formed a department Catastrophe Team to visit affected locations following very severe weather events. But for assistance at any time, call the KID Consumer Assistance Hotline (in Kansas), 800-432-2484.