Spring can bring some wicked storms, and the Department of Insurance reminds Missourians to double check their policies before severe weather strikes.
Spokesman Travis Ford says consumers need to make sure their property is protected, which might mean a thorough review of homeowners and renters insurance policies. He says a home inventory is also recommended.
“Don’t assume you’re insured against all types of damage to your home or business,” Department Director John Huff says. “Consumers should talk to their homeowners insurance agent to determine whether they need these extra protections.”
Huff says consumers need to understand what’s covered and what’s not, especially since most standard policies cover losses from fire, theft, tornadoes and strong winds and hail but do NOT cover damage from flooding, earthquakes or sewer and drain backups. Consumers typically need to purchase extra coverage to protect against such catastrophes.
In 2009, Missouri consumers reported nearly $300 million in claims for wind and hail damage — more than fire and theft combined.
The breakdown is as follows:
1. Wind and hail damage: $297 million in claims
2. Fire: $235 million
3. Theft: $18 million
“Renters should consult an insurance agent as well,” Huff says. “Tenants need renters insurance to cover their belongings, while landlords are responsible for insuring the building itself.”
The Department of Insurance offers a home inventory tool online that helps renters and homeowners complete a list of personal possessions, including jewelry, electronics, clothing and furniture.
“This checklist makes filing damage claims easier, and it helps you and your agent determine how much insurance you need, and what deductibles you should select,” the department says.
The department offers a downloadable Home Inventory Checklist at http://insurance.mo.gov/aboutInsurance/publications/HomeInventoryChecklist.pdf
Oh yeah, and there’s an app for that!
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners offers a free app that allows iPhone users to enter details and prices of their possessions, as well as digital photos.
For more, visit www.insurance.mo.gov or call 800-726-7390.