Weather woes: Protect yourself before the storm hits
Many homeowners, especially new homeowners, don't give a lot of thought to their insurance coverage until the wind picks up. Spend a few minutes reviewing these common causes of damage and how you can help protect your home from Mother Nature's worst.
Tornadoes are devastating, of course, but gusty days and straight-line winds actually account for more claims than confirmed tornadoes. Make sure your home is in good repair and your landscaping is kept up to prevent damage. Remove weak branches before they fall on the house, use bark instead of landscaping rock that can damage windows, and store lawn furniture safely out of the wind when it's not in use.
Large or small, hail can leave a mark. Whether your car is parked outside during a storm or your roof takes a beating, inspect your property after a hail storm. If you notice any dents or cracks, you'll want to call your insurance agent immediately.
It's important to understand that there's a difference between water back up and flood damage. Water back up is when water and other materials come into your home through the sump pump, sewers, drains, or related equipment. Many home insurance policies provide water back up coverage but will limit how much could be paid. Higher limits might be available at an increased cost.
The majority of homeowner's insurance policies do not protect you in case of flood damage. With flooding, water can enter through windows, doors, and cracks in the foundation. If you live in a flood zone or have concerns about flooding, ask your insurance agent whether you have the proper insurance coverage.
You can't control the weather, but you can be prepared when a storm strikes. One of the best things you can do as a homeowner is to prepare a record of your belongings before a storm hits. A home inventory is a list of your belongings that you can reference if you have to make a claim. You may want to store your inventory online, so you can access it from anywhere, anytime.
Keep your home inventory updated as you make improvements to your property. Review it with your agent because it can help you identify property that may need additional coverage, such as antiques, specialized equipment, or a new patio or deck.
If you're worried about the possibility of storm damage, speak with your agent. To find an agent near you, click here.
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When Jenny VanDeHei left for college to study business, she thought she had picked her last stone and fed her last calf. She loved the family farm she grew up on, but she saw her future as an accountant, in an office building in the city, far from the country fresh smell of cow manure.
When you’re born into a farm family, on the job training begins the moment you can walk. You learn quickly where it’s safe to play, not to startle the animals, and that there’s always a way you can help – no matter your age. Curt Weis, Manager – Farm and Agribusiness Training, can attest to this because he earned his keep by working on his family’s farm right up until he left for college.
Patti Lemke, Sr. Agribusiness Underwriter, spent her entire young life living and working on a farm. Her parents owned and operated a small farm in Eden, Wis. that milked 65 cows in a stanchion barn, and she worked on a large dairy farm that milked 700 head from the time she was 14 until she left for college.