Last week tragedy struck when bizarre weather patterns resulted in dozens of powerful tornados, massive flooding, high winds and damaging dust storms occurring across multiple states. In some cases, the powerful weather fronts striking the Plains and southern states swept north, resulting in rainstorms that spread across the East Coast up to the state of New York. Unfortunately, last week’s freak-weather had devastating effects on many communities that have forced survivors to take in the resulting damages and evaluate their options for the future.
It’s difficult to imagine a disaster on the scale of what we saw last week happening in central Pennsylvania. But natural disasters can hit anywhere and any time – and that’s why you need to ask yourself – would your insurance protect and assist you if disaster struck?
1. Evaluating Your Homeowners Policy
Basic homeowners insurance policies usually cover certain damages caused by some acts of nature, such as lightning strikes, wildfires, windstorms, hail storms, damage caused by heavy snow or ice on your home, and even tornados or certain amounts of volcanic activity. While this seems like enough on first glance, several key things are not included in this coverage:
-Any damage caused by earthquakes
-Any damages caused by flooding
-Certain types of hurricane damage
Central Pennsylvania, while a very safe state in terms of natural disasters, is still at risk for flooding, both due to local weather and due to hurricane storms moving north after making landfall. Because of this, locals are strongly advised to purchase additional coverage to make sure they’re protected in these events – and to make sure their homeowners insurance comprehensively covers any personal losses or potential rebuilding costs.
2. Evaluating Your Renters Policy
Renters by definition have to deal with a unique situation – while they can (and should!) look into a renter’s insurance policy that covers damage to their furniture, electronics and other personal belongings in the event of a natural disaster, the responsibility of maintaining building insurance belongs to the landlord.
Keeping this in mind, renters should always check their insurance policies to see if insurance would cover living expenses in the event of a disaster making an apartment unlivable; ultimately, renters are responsible for their belongings and their living expenses, but not for the damages that could affect an apartment complex following a natural disaster.
3. Evaluating Your Auto Insurance Policy
As we’ve discussed before, basic auto insurance offers skeletal protections for policy holders – and unfortunately damages due to natural disasters are not included in a basic policy. Many comprehensive auto insurance policies also cover the collateral losses that can take place as a direct result of a natural disaster, such as vandalism, theft (looting) and animal damages. It’s highly recommended that central Pennsylvanians invest in auto insurance that covers each of these scenarios.
No one ever thinks they’ll be involved in a natural disaster. But after the events of last week, everyone watching the news should be asking themselves, “How much damage would my insurance cover if that happened to me?”
Many studies indicate that well over half of the insurance policies held in this country would not adequately cover natural disaster damages. With ever changing weather forecasts looming ahead, now is the perfect time to review your homeowner/renter and auto insurance policies. We strongly encourage you to schedule a personal assistance meeting with one of our Fisher Widmann Flick Insurance Agency staff members. Our representatives in Blaire County, Cambria County, Somerset, Latrobe, or in any other nearby counties will help you take inventory of your valuables to ensure that your insurance policy covers all of your possessions – and not just the structure of your home. We’ll also make sure that your insurance policy is affordable while still offering comprehensive coverage that will offer enough living expenses to cover the costs of temporary lodging, food, and other necessities in the event of a natural disaster.
Put simply, our job is to make sure that Mother Nature doesn’t become your worst enemy this summer – so give us a call and make sure that you’re thoroughly covered and properly protected today!