You hear a loud crash and a flash of light; it’s definitely thunder-storming. Some people want to run to the window and watch, others want to hide under a blanket, and some want to dance because their plants or crops are finally getting water! No matter what your reaction is, it’s also important to remember that storms can be dangerous and cause serious damage if you’re not prepared for them. Lightning is potentially harmful to you, your property, and your possessions. It’s also possible for that bad storm to turn into a hurricane. Being fully prepared not only includes taking preventative steps and making a plan, but also having a reliable insurance policy in case something still goes wrong. Here are some tips on how to do both!
Obviously, an insurance policy can only help if you have adequate insurance before a storm hits, so it’s a good idea to make sure you have adequate protection as soon as possible. If a major storm causes flooding, many people are surprised that their standard Connecticut homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t cover everything that’s lost. You need flood insurance. Even if your home is not in a coastal area, you’re not off the hook. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) says that people outside of what they call “mapped high-risk flood areas” file more than 20% of all NFIP flood insurance claims and receive one-third of Federal disaster assistance for flooding. Having flood insurance could also help in the winter and spring if there is excess runoff, etc.
To stay prepared for storms, you also need to make sure that your policy covers against wind damage. Homeowners policies often exclude these coverages, too. If you live in an area that may experience high winds, you should talk to your agent and consider your options.
You should also check to see how your insurance will handle lost or damaged possessions. Standard policies often limit payments on valuables like jewelry, silverware, antiques, boats, guns, and computers. If you have collectibles or high value belongings, you may want to look into special endorsements. You also may only be covered for the “actual cash value” of your items. This means that you will get paid less in compensation for your items if they are damaged because you are only covered for their depreciated value. Although it costs more to insure them for replacement value, it could be worth your while.
Whether you are insured for actual-cash or replacement value, your insurance company can not compensate you if your items are unrecognizable from flooding, fire, or other damage. Therefore, you should always keep a home inventory of valuables. This could include costs, purchase dates, serial numbers, receipts, or photos depending on the item. Our mobile app makes that process super simple and convenient.
In the event of an impending bad storm, there are several precautions you should take to be prepared.
- Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage to property.
- Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause cause damage.
- Limit or avoid time showering or bathing, as plumbing, bathroom fixtures, and water can conduct electricity.
- Unplug appliances and other electrical items that don’t need to be in use as power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
- Make sure your family has an escape plan in the event of fire or other emergencies.
- Postpone any outdoor activities.
If you are caught in an unexpected storm, here are some steps you should take to stay safe.
- If you can not get inside your home or another building, a car is the next best option.
- Avoid hill tops and open fields. Try relocating to an area of lower elevation with thick growth of small trees. However, while you’re at a low place, always be cautious of flash flooding.
- Stay away from bodies of water. For example if you are at a lake or beach, leave immediately and take shelter if possible.
- Stay away from anything metal, including your bike, golf carts, farm equipment, or motorcycles.
- If you are outside during a storm and unable to find shelter, always be aware of the hair on your arms and neck. If it stands on end, that means lightning is about to strike. Squat on the balls of your feet to avoid contact with the ground and make yourself as small as possible.
Of course, we hope that you never are caught in any situation like this, but it’s always important to be prepared. Storms are pretty much unavoidable. If something were to happen though, the right insurance for your needs is extremely important for helping you get back on your feet. If you want to review your policy or get a free quote, please call our agency at 1-860-684-5270.