December 5th, 2013
When bad weather hits, it's best to be prepared. While most homeowners have some form of protection with homeowners insurance, there are some unknown complications that can occur when making a weather-related claim.
Extreme weather is happening more frequently
Although Haiti topped the charts of Germanwatch's 2014 Global Climate Risk Index, extreme weather can happen anywhere. In fact, it is happening more often in more places around the world. From Superstorm Sandy to hundreds of tornadoes ripping through the Midwest, extreme weather changes as a result of global warming are likely to continue to grow in the future. As a result, more homeowners should protect their properties with homeowners insurance.
Catastrophe claims can be slow
In areas where a catastrophe hits, most homeowners will be filing insurance claims at the same time, meaning that the process could take extra time. A large volume of claims, calls and questions to insurance companies can increase wait times during an emergency. If you are hit by a natural disaster and a lot of homeowners in the area are affected as well, be aware that it may take longer to get your claim processed and completed.
Disaster situations can upset the insurance process
When large-scale devastation hits, insurance companies will often bring in volunteers who do not normally work for the company. In these cases, volunteers may move or remove debris and damage with good intentions before it is properly documented. To make a claim, a homeowner may need proper documentation of what happened and what was damaged or destroyed in order to report a full inventory. It is therefore important to be vigilant about documentation by taking photos and creating a list of damaged items.
One storm, multiple claims
Recently in Oklahoma, residents experienced a series of tornadoes that devastated homes in the affected areas. While it may have been one large storm, insurance companies labeled the multiple tornadoes individually because each tornado requires a deductible. When preparing for emergencies, homeowners should be aware that separate events may require additional deductibles.
Many people don't realize that flood insurance is not necessarily included in regular homeowners insurance. Instead, it must be purchase separately. Additionally, it typically has a 30-day waiting period before coverage begins. If a storm is approaching, it may be too late to buy supplemental insurance and be covered. Homeowners in flood plains should invest early to avoid being without coverage for too long.