Spring Severe Weather

Last week was Spring Severe Weather Awareness week. With the nice weather we have had, I am sure a lot of you already did a lot of the preparations that this week is all about. For those of you that did not or those who still have more to do, let me tell you why we have Spring Sever Weather Awareness Week.

The purpose of Spring Severe Weather Awareness week is two-fold, 1 (the obvious) to make people aware that we do have severe storms in the spring and we need to use the nice weather days to prepare so we can minimize or prevent damage before it happens. Secondly, we in the insurance industry want to let you know what you can do to help prepare for the high winds, hail, and rains that come with the vicious spring storms like we had last May.

For those of us who were fortunate enough to not be directly affected by the storms last May, I will tell you that according to the Ohio Insurance Institute, that storm ranks third in Ohio’s history for severe weather devastation. Multiple Insurance companies paid out over a billion dollars each to help our members/clients rebuild. 

Even though we all have insurance, I think we would all prefer to avoid the damage as opposed to have to deal with and fix it. Here are some tips that may help you avoid damage to your property in the event of severe weather again this spring.

  • Keep trees and shrubs trimmed. Weak and dead branches can fall on your home or car as well as your neighbor’s.
  • Clean your gutters and downspouts. Our homes are designed to deal with the weather in our area but the designs will fail to move the water away from our homes if we do not keep the pathways for water clear.
  • Secure or store outdoor furniture and decorations. If high winds could move the object, have a plan on how to secure the item in advance of the storm.
  • Check your home’s interior and exterior for cracked or missing caulk and repair where needed. It never ceases to amaze people on what water can do if enough of it is able to find a small hole into your home.

With your home clean, clear and protected, it is a good idea to take a look at what else is at risk during these storms, our belongings and our family. Both can be protected by taking a few steps to prepare for power outages and possible injury. A lot of these may seem overboard, but in the case of a tornado, taking a few extra precautions will prove worthwhile.

  • Prepare a small emergency kit. Have flashlights, a small first aid kit, some basic tools, and other supplies you may need in the event you are unable to go anywhere for a couple of days. One item that is now being recommended to add to that kit is an air horn. Just in case you need something louder to let people know where you are.
  • Also, add insurance carrier’s claims number as well as your agent’s into your cell phone.
  • I also strongly recommend taking an inventory of your belongings so if it is lost, you can document it easier for replacement. Sites like www.knowyourstuff.org have more information and a downloadable worksheet to help make this process much simpler and quicker.

Now that your home is prepared, and you are prepared, I recommend talking to your agent about your concerns, and how to address them with insurance. It is these times of high claims activity that expose the coverage we have chosen to be insufficient in dealing with what matters most to us. Make sure to ask about your homeowner’s insurance as not all coverage is the same and some policies may need to be changed to cover certain causes of loss. While you have your agent on the phone ask for a flood quote as well, it may be a concern that your policy does not currently cover. Finally, check on your auto coverage, deductibles, and whether or not you have coverage for a rental car in the event of a claim. Many multi-car households chose to not carry this coverage since they have multiple cars. This may leave you having to pay for two rental cars in the event both cars are destroyed in a severe storm.

Thank you for reading, and look for my next sprint time topic… Umbrellas!

Mark Hofelich

I have always been a Clevelander, born and raised on the west side. I am now a local Nationwide Insurance Agent with an office located at the west end of Lakewood. I am proud to be a part of the Observer and the City of Lakewood.

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 9:57 PM, 04.03.2012