CHICAGO — This year is well ahead of pace for severe weather with 40 percent more tornado reports being filed by the National Weather Service than the three-year average and we are just entering the peak month for tornado season. While it is impossible to predict how severe the weather will be during the next few months, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is urging homeowners to take precautions such as putting together an emergency supply kit and making sure their auto and homeowners insurance policies are up to date.
Hailstorms and tornado activity generally reach their peak in May. In fact, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) last May there were 216 confirmed tornadoes and 1,511 large hailstorms. This time of year, violent wind storms, flooding, and large hail storms cause billions of dollars in property damage. The Property Claims Service reports that in U.S. severe weather catastrophic events in April 2016, generated more than 850,000 claims and over $5.7 billion in losses.
“The number of locations affected by deadly and damaging storms this spring is quickly rising, which is why insurers urge you to take time now to get prepared,” said Christopher Hackett, PCI’s senior director of personal lines policy. “No matter where you live in the country it is important that you have a severe weather plan, emergency kit, NOAA weather radio, and other emergency supplies. It is equally important homeowners, renters, and business owners conduct a review of their insurance policies and discuss coverage options with their insurance agent or company to make sure they are adequately covered.”
Most tornado, windstorm, hail and similar severe weather-related losses are covered by either homeowners, renters, or commercial insurance policies. Tornado losses to a home are covered by the windstorm peril under the homeowners’ insurance policy. Renters insurance also provides coverage to policyholder possessions under this peril. Business owners are covered under their commercial policies. Protection from windstorm or hail damage for cars is covered under the comprehensive portion of the automobile insurance policy.
Conduct a detailed inventory of your possessions including receipts, descriptions and photos of your home's contents.
Keep your insurance policy and agent information along with other important information with you or in a secure place.
Keep a cell phone charged and with you for emergencies.
If you have one, keep a laptop computer close by. Most insurance companies allow claims reports to be submitted via the Internet.
PCI's Tornado Headquarters offers vital information for those impacted by tornadoes, as well as preparedness tips for those living in tornado-prone areas. Follow us on Twitter @PCIAA and use #HaveAPlan as we continue to provide tips on what to do before and after a tornado.