Homeowners insurance and tornadoes

As Americans gear up for another summer, many are also preparing for a stormy season. After a deadly start to the tornado season in April and May, homeowners need to be aware of the potential dangers that could form. CoverHound is here to tell you what you need to know about tornado season and how to protect your home.

Preparing your home for a tornado
While the most active tornado months of April and May are behind us, these storms can still pop up throughout the summer, which is why it's important homeowners know how to prepare for them. In some cases, you might not have more than a few minutes' warning to take shelter from an approaching tornado, but you can be ready for that time long before. Here's what you should do to be prepared:

  • Create an emergency kit: It's best to have an emergency kit ready that you can easily bring with you if you need to move to a reinforced shelter near your home. Some things you should keep in your kit are first-aid supplies, canned or dried food, water to last three days for each person, flashlights, batteries, a radio and any prescription medications you or your family members take.

  • Store important documents: Tornadoes have been known to flatten some houses and even entire towns, which means you need to take precautions to protect important records and documents. These include birth certificates, insurance policies, wills, social security cards and ownership certificates.

  • Have tornado protection: Your homeowners insurance policy likely covers financial reimbursement for wind damage to your home and any lost possessions, but you should double-check to see what is covered in the case of a tornado. If you live in a high-risk area, you may need additional coverage.

    Where tornadoes hit
    There are some areas of the U.S. - collectively referred to as Tornado Alley - where tornadoes are more likely to hit. Already, 2014 has been one of the deadliest tornado seasons. RealtyTrac compiled a list of seven cities that are not foreign to tornadoes and that are considered to be at high risk this year.

  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Toledo, Ohio
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma

    What's the difference between a tornado watch and warning?
    There are many weather patterns that could indicate the potential for a tornado. Meteorologists will determine if these conditions prompt a warning to residents. A tornado watch will be issued if there is a possibility that a tornado could form in or near your area. After a watch, you may have some time to prepare in case a warning is issued. A tornado warning is more serious and requires your immediate action, as it means a tornado has been confirmed.

    When a storm approaches
    Typically, you can know ahead of time if a tornado is likely to strike down near your home. When tornado conditions appear to be developing, watch the local news or listen to the radio for a tornado warning or watch. It's important to stay informed so you know when to act to keep yourself and family members safe. Your community may also have its own system of alerting residents to a tornado, such as with sirens.

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