Preparing for Tornado and Hurricane Season
Preparing for Tornado and Hurricane Season
Tornadoes could be spinning your way already, and hurricane season arrives as early as June. Unlike hurricanes, tornado season is mostly year-round. Slow months occurred only in January, February, September, and November of 2022.1 Both of these common storm systems bring increased risk of wind and flood damage. With your home likely your single most valuable asset, you want to make sure you regularly compare home insurance quotes and keep your policies up to date. Here are a few of the top things to consider before reviewing your policies, plus some ways to safeguard your home and all the people inside it.
Update Your Homeowners Policy
Whether your homeowners insurance policy covers tornado damage depends on many factors. First, your location may dictate your coverage. Second, if you need to make a claim, what causes the damage could influence your coverage. Obviously, wind damage is common during a tornado, yet some policies exclude wind damage. Additionally, tornados can coincide with storms that cause flooding (see below).
Hurricanes are not unlike tornadoes in the damage they cause to homes. Your best bet is to speak with an insurance expert who can tell you what coverage makes sense for your home and location. Pay close attention to is whether you have actual cash value coverage or replacement cost coverage. The latter may help reimburse you for the damaged item without factoring in depreciation.
Invest in a Private Flood Insurance Policy
Understanding flood insurance and what it covers is vital before you begin assessing how much coverage you need. Flooding occurs in 90% of all disasters, leading to billions of dollars in damages every year.2
Most home insurance policies do not typically cover flood damage during a natural disaster. Therefore, strongly consider supplementing your home insurance policy with private flood insurance if you are not already required to own National Flood Insurance.
Plan with the People in Your Home
If you live anywhere near the coast, higher sea temperatures and lack of El Niño effects point to higher-than-average hurricanes this year.3 Ready.gov has some excellent advice on preparing for tornadoes that apply to hurricanes as well.4 Some of their most important advice:
- Know your area’s risk level. The Midwest and Southeast have greater risk for tornadoes and anywhere near the Atlantic Coast could be hit by hurricanes.
- Pay attention to Emergency Alert System (EAS) and NOAA Weather Radio for emergency alerts
- Identify a safe shelter such built upon FEMA criteria. The next best protection is a small, interior, windowless room if you don’t have a basement.
- Prepare for long-term stay at home or sheltering in place by gathering emergency supplies and non-perishable food, water, and medical supplies.
We’ve also put together advice for what do before, during, and after a variety of storms. During the aftermath of a storm, it’s very important to be mindful of power lines, gas lines, and falling objects.
Prepare Your Home Itself
While a good insurance policy is the best way to get your home back to normal after a storm, there are a few preventative measures you can take to avoid damage. The CDC offer this advice5:
- Arrange furniture so that chairs and beds are away from windows, mirrors, and picture frames.
- Secure your large appliances, especially your water heater, with flexible cable, braided wire, or metal strapping.
- Remove any debris or loose items in your yard.
- Know where and how to shut off utilities, including gas, electricity, and water, at the main switches or valves.
In tornadoes and hurricanes alike, loose branches and debris can cause severe damage. This includes bringing inside your outdoor furniture and anything in your yard or patio that could become a projectile if not anchored down. If you have time, you can also purchase sandbags and try to blockade water from entering your home. As always, never put your personal safety before material items that can be replaced. That’s what insurance is for!
Who is Answer Financial?
Wondering if you have enough coverage before disasters strike is a very legitimate concern. The fact that you are reading this article is an excellent first step. The next most important thing you can do (once your emergency plan is in place) is contact the insurance experts at Answer Financial.
Over the years, we’ve helped more than 4 million people like you review their current policy and find affordable home insurance for their needs. You can speak with us at 1-800-258-5101 to buy or change your coverage from top-rated insurance companies. Or, if it’s more convenient, visit our website to use our home insurance comparison tool and quickly compare rates and customize coverages from multiple companies.
December 19, 2023
1. “Facts + Statistics: Tornadoes and Thunderstorms,” Insurance Information Institute, https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-tornadoes-and-thunderstorms
2. "Spotlight on: Flood Insurance,” Insurance Information Institute, https://www.iii.org/article/spotlight-on-flood-insurance
3. “Facts + Statistics: Hurricanes,” Insurance Information Institute, https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-hurricanes
4. “Tornadoes,” Ready.gov, https://www.ready.gov/tornadoes
5. “How to Prepare Your Home for a Tornado,” Freddie Mac, https://myhome.freddiemac.com/blog/homeownership/20190723-disaster-prearedness-tornado-tips