Ohio Director Offers Severe Weather Safety Information, Insurance Tips

April 27, 2004

As the severe weather season approaches, Ohio Insurance Director Ann Womer Benjamin is reminding Ohioans to include a review of their insurance policies as part of their storm season preparation.

According to the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, there were 12 tornadoes in 2003, resulting in 18 injuries. Last year, more than $75 million in federal disaster assistance was provided to Ohioans affected by dangerous storms. On average, Ohio can expect 16 tornadoes and five tornado-related fatalities each year.

“The moments following a disaster are too late to find out if you have the right amount of insurance,” Womer Benjamin said. “I encourage all Ohioans to contact their insurance agent and review their policies to ensure you are protected against unforeseen events as the likelihood of severe weather increases.”

The Ohio Department of Insurance offers the following storm and tornado tips:

Advance Insurance Planning Tips:

· Be sure you have adequate coverage and deductibles that are reasonable for one’s needs.

· Examine the homeowner or renter’s coverage, as well as auto policies.

· Tornadoes are considered “wind-storms” and are covered under homeowners insurance policies. If a tornado damages one’s car, protection is provided under the comprehensive portion of their auto policy.

· A home inventory will assist in settling claims. Compile a detailed written inventory of one’s home and belongings and supplement that inventory with a videotape or photographs. Keep the inventory off-premises in a safety deposit box.

· Since flood insurance is not included in routine homeowner and renter’s insurance policies, this is also a good time to check on the necessity and availability of flood insurance in your area. Call the National Flood Insurance Program at 1-800-638-6620 to learn about flood insurance in one’s neighborhood.

If One Has Suffered Damage to Property Due to a Storm:

· Call the insurance company as soon as possible.

· Try and protect property and salvage what is left to.

· Closely inspect property and cars for damage. Note and photograph any damage and losses. This will assist in settling claims.

· Be sure one’s agent knows how to contact them if they can’t stay in their home.

· If required to seek temporary housing, check the policy for “loss of use” coverage. Many policies cover such expenses up to a stated amount.

· Be sure everything is considered in one’s claim. Back-up claims with written estimates.

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