Make sure you are covered for severe storm damage

c.r.roberts@thenewstribune.comOctober 2, 2013 

The storms that rumbled through last weekend not only topped the more than 30-year-old records, they buried them in their wake.

STEVE BLOOM/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

It was water, water (and wind) everywhere for the past few days, but don’t think it can’t happen again.

It probably will, and the NW Insurance Council has some suggestions that might help ease the effects of any coming storm.

First, there’s flood insurance.

“This past weekend’s stormy weather in Oregon and Washington is a reminder to homeowners and business owners to consider purchasing flood insurance now, especially if your home or business is located in or near a flood plain,” writes Sandi Henke, Council communications director.

You might not be covered.

“Water coming in at the surface level from outside the home is specifically excluded from homeowners and business insurance policies,” she said. “Flood Insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program, but there is a 30-day waiting period for new policies. NW Insurance Council encourages homeowners and business owners to consider purchasing flood insurance now as the rainy season begins in the Pacific Northwest.”

She continues, “Find out if you are located in a floodplain and if your community participates in the NFIP. Start with the Building or Planning Department and ask to see the Flood Insurance Rate Maps published by FEMA. Flood coverage is a specific type of coverage that must be purchased separately. Talk to your insurance agent or company about the availability and qualifications for flood insurance.”

Beyond that, here’s a list:

 • Develop an emergency kit that includes a three-day supply of drinking water and food you don’t have to refrigerate or cook. The kit should also contain first aid supplies, a weather radio, batteries, clothing, blankets, medicine, copies of your insurance policies and some basic tools.

 • Develop a home inventory of your personal property. You can access free, downloadable home inventory software from the Insurance Information Institute. A complete inventory of your possessions will help you and your adjuster get through the claims process quickly. List descriptions, take pictures and include receipts when possible.

 • Property owners not under immediate threat can reduce the likelihood of water intrusion by ensuring the soundness of window and door seals. Clear drains of debris and make sure your home lot grading directs water away from buildings.

 • Review your insurance policy with your agent or company representative to ensure you have adequate insurance to cover losses from a windstorm. The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety has a disaster planning toolkit called Open for Business.

 • Inspect your roof and replace it if necessary. Warped shingles can curl and easily peel from your roof during a windstorm.

 • Cut down dead or diseased trees that could affect your property.

 • Remove personal items from your yard such as trampolines, bicycles and yard equipment. These items can cause unnecessary damage during a severe windstorm.

 • If your car was damaged by a falling tree or limb, that damage should be covered under the comprehensive coverage in your auto insurance policy. This coverage is optional and pays for vehicle damages other than those caused by a collision.

C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535 c.r.roberts@thenewstribune.com

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