Wis. Gov. Reminds Residents to be Set for Severe Weather; Awareness Week April 18-22

April 15, 2005

Severe weather can result in severe property damage.

This year, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle declared April 18-22, 2005, “Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week” in Wisconsin. During this time, the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) encourages consumers to review their policies to make sure they know what they are covered for in the event their property is damaged by a storm or flood.

“Insurance policies vary greatly in the type and extent of damage they cover,” Insurance Commissioner Jorge Gomez said. “Consumers should be proactive and make sure they know what type of damage their insurance policy covers as we enter the season in which severe weather often occurs in our area.”

Severe weather includes floods, tornadoes, thunderstorms, lightning, high wind, and hail. According to the National Weather Service, high wind can cause as much damage as a tornado, and hail causes more than $1 billion in crop and property damage nationwide each year.

Many consumers may have misconceptions about what their policies provide coverage for in the event of weather-related damage. For example, flood insurance must be bought separately from homeowner’s insurance and must be in place 30 days prior to a claim. Also, consumers who carry collision auto insurance without comprehensive coverage are not covered in the event of damage from hail, wind or flooding. The best way for consumers to find out what their policy covers is to check with their insurance company.

Also, OCI publications, such as “Consumer’s Guide to Insurance,” “Consumer’s Guide to Homeowner’s Insurance,” “Settling Property Insurance Claims” and “Consumer’s Guide to Auto Insurance,” can be ordered free from the agency by writing to OCI Publications, P.O. Box 7873, Madison, WI 53707-7873, calling 800-236-8517 or visiting the OCI Web site at oci.wi.gov.

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