Ga. Commissioner Offers Residents Tips in Conjunction with Severe Weather Awareness Week

February 20, 2004

Severe Weather Awareness Week in Georgia is Feb. 22-28, and Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine wants to remind homeowners of some important insurance tips to protect their property from tornadoes, flooding and other weather-related hazards.

While tornadoes can occur at any time of year if atmospheric conditions are right, March, April and May are considered prime months for tornadoes to strike. And in the last few years, Georgia has experienced a good bit of tornado activity as early as February,
Oxendine said.

“Georgia’s tornado season is just around the corner, and we want all Georgia consumers to be familiar with steps they should take to minimize property damage and financial hardship caused by storms,” Oxendine said.

Oxendine offers these reminders and tips:

* While a standard homeowner’s insurance policy covers damage from high winds and tornadoes, it does not cover damage from flooding. A separate policy must be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program, and can only be purchased if one’s community participates in the national program. However, a standard mobile home policy can cover damage caused by floods.

* Make a list of all valuables, furniture, electronics, etc., and photograph or videotape possessions. Keep copies of the list, photographs and videotape in a safe place outside the home. If the home is damaged or destroyed in a natural disaster, it may be difficult to tell an insurance agent what was lost without proof.

* Keep insurance policy numbers and the agent’s phone number in a safe place as well.

* If disaster strikes, contact the agent or insurance company immediately.

* Protect property from further damage. For example, if the roof is damaged, cover it with a tarp to prevent water damage from subsequent rain. Most policies will not cover such damage.

* Make sure to understand the difference between actual cash value (ACV) and replacement cost coverage for the contents, and obtain the coverage that best suits one’s needs. An ACV policy replaces contents at cost minus depreciation. If one has replacement cost coverage, the contents will be replaced at today’s prices.

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