In recent years, hail, tornadoes and severe thunderstorms have been the main cause of weather-related losses, and it seems as if historic events have become a common occurrence.

As we respond to severe weather, there are some things to keep in mind to help protect homes, property and businesses. With a little preparation, damage can be reduced and the recovery process will be smoother.

Some coverages that Motorists offers, which can help businesses remain protected against severe weather, are:

  • Business Income Actual Loss Sustained.
  • Business Income with Extra Expense.
  • Backup of Sewers and Drains.
  • Debris Removal.
  • Sign Coverage.
  • Utility service time element and direct damage if the storms result in a loss of utilities away from the insured’s premises.

Most damage caused by storms is covered under standard homeowners policies. However, there are items to consider that can make the claims process, recovering and rebuilding smoother:

  • Provide an inventory list of personal property items damaged, with the estimated replacement cost of items more than $100.
  • Provide an itemized repair estimate, or repair bill if the work has been performed before the claim has been adjusted.
  • Residents in flood-prone areas should contact the National Flood Insurance Program about coverage if they have not already done so.
  • A generator can be a valuable item during an emergency to prevent food from spoiling and provide electricity for any essential equipment.

Tree debris removal
One of the key considerations to understand the amount of coverage available for tree debris removal is whether the tree falls on or damages the home, garage or other physical structure. If that’s the case, then coverage is available to remove the tree from that structure subject to the limits of insurance that apply for that structure. In addition, many policies provide an additional $500 for the removal of the tree debris once it’s removed from the structure. In a scenario when a tree is felled by wind that causes no damage to a structure, policies can vary on how they respond.

Most basic policies do not provide coverage for tree debris removal caused by wind. However, it is very common for homeowners policies to be endorsed to provide some limited coverage, typically $500 or $1,000.

Safety tips
The Department of Homeland Security recommends the following be part of a disaster recovery kit:

  • Enough food and drinkable water for 72 hours. There should also be enough food and water on hand for any pets.
  • Enough water should be kept on hand for sanitation needs.
  • Batteries and a battery-operated, or hand-crank, NOAA weather radio.
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.

More guidelines and tips about preparing and recovering from natural disasters are available at Ready.gov.

Beware of scams

It’s an unfortunate part of tragedy, but scam artists often follow in the wake of disasters. The Ohio attorney general offers these points for policyholders to keep in mind:

  • They should research contractors before signing any contract, obtaining the name, address and phone number of any contractor agreeing to do work. They should also ask for identification from the company’s representative, and check out consumer complaints with the state attorney general and the Better Business Bureau.
  • They should not accept services from any contractor who refuses to provide proper identification, does not have a permanent place of business, cannot provide references or insists on a large payment before work begins.
  • They should get written estimates and get estimates from more than one contractor. Doing business with a company that does not provide a written estimate is not advised.
  • If they are financing the transaction, they should arrange for a certificate of completion with their bank. The bank will pay the contractor for each completed stage of the job only after they give permission. They should never sign over their insurance check to a contractor.
  • The contractor should provide them with a sworn statement that all materials have been paid for and all subcontractors have been paid. This will protect your clients from liens that may be placed on their property if the contractor fails to pay all suppliers and subcontractors.

Personal information can be casualty of natural disasters
Identity theft protection from Identity Theft 911® is included as part of Motorists’ homeowners coverage and commercial lines policies. In addition to helping policyholders recover from identity theft or a security breach, it can help in the recovery process for victims of natural disasters.

Protecting information after a storm
Policyholders should protect important information and documents. Whether they’re in a shelter or staying with friends and family, they should never let important items leave their sight.

The post office can hold mail until people return home. This will keep thieves from finding sensitive materials that are left in mailboxes.

During disasters, criminals often prey on peoples’ emotions. They can check against scam charities by using Give.org or CharityNavigator.org.

Article courtesy of Motorists Mutual. Original article can be found here.

About Gem-Young

Gem-Young is Mahoning Valley’s premier insurance and financial planning firm with offices located in Canfield, North Jackson and East Liverpool Ohio. We are a locally owned, family-run business offering home and auto insurance, business insurance, life and health insurance, and a true wealth advisory asset management service. We believe in making a difference in our client’s lives.

 

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