Tornado Insurance in Oklahoma

Tornado Insurance in Oklahoma

Tornado Insurance For Your Home

There’s nothing more important than keeping your family safe from harm and in Oklahoma, that means being prepared for tornadoes. Tornadoes can be deadly and destructive, and since they can hit with very little warning, arranging for them in advance will help protect your family and your property. With over 50 tornadoes touching down each year in Oklahoma alone, making sure you have the right coverage can be a godsend.

Many people go to great lengths to ensure their family is prepared for a tornado, by purchasing canned food, bottled water, and medical supplies in advance. People spend thousands of dollars on concrete shelters for protection and hammer out every detail to make sure everything is in place, just in case a big twister comes through town. However, there are those people who wind up forgetting a very important aspect of tornado protection: insurance.

Sure, there’s homeowner’s insurance, and anyone who owns a home probably has coverage, but will it cover tornado damage? Since Oklahoma sits smack in the middle of the area known as Tornado Alley, you would think that tornado coverage would be a given in most homeowners policies. Not necessarily; there are exclusions and limitations to policies and nothing could rub salt into the wound more than discovering after a tornado has ruined your home and belongings that the coverage you thought you had never existed, and suddenly you are responsible for covering the cost of the wreckage! Most Oklahomans find they are underinsured only after a tornado has hit.

 

It’s imperative that when you purchase insurance that you also add tornado insurance if it is not included in your regular coverage. Many people assume that it is only to find out they aren’t insured after the storm strikes. An addendum adding windstorm coverage will protect any damage sustained to your home, replacement of your personal items, and even the cost of replacing the home. Many homeowners believe that the standard coverage will be enough, but it is important to know just exactly what is covered. Some insurance policies cover “perils” or risks that may damage your home or your property. The majority of homeowner’s insurance policies cover mishaps and disasters including fire and smoke damage, explosions, theft, damage from an airplane, or other vehicle, lightning strikes, water damage, the weight of ice or snow, falling objects, vandalism and windstorms or hail. While windstorms may be covered by your regular homeowner’s insurance, it is up to you to speak to your agent to ensure that covers tornadoes, especially in Oklahoma. So many claims have been made for tornado destruction that it is not an automatic inclusion anymore. You may need a rider that specifically spells out damage or destruction by a tornado, depending upon your insurance provider.

You can check to see if you have dwelling coverage to help fix or replace your home, and personal property coverage will also cover any items inside your home that are destroyed. Sometimes tornadoes come with downpours of rain, and while your home may be covered for wind damage, it may not cover flood damage. Your needs are best discussed with your insurance agent. There are limitations to homeowner’s insurance policies that must be investigated and addressed if they are lacking the coverage you could potentially need.

Tornado Insurance For Your HomeAsk the insurance agent about a policy extension to your homeowner’s insurance as some insurance companies will limit the amount that they will cover if your home is damaged or destroyed by a tornado. For people living in Oklahoma specifically, adding an endorsement or a peril-specific policy can provide additional protection. Most insurance companies want to avoid liability so they may not mention any extra, specific tornado insurance, so the responsibility falls on the homeowners to confirm that they are completely insured. Expect for it to be pricey, as well; home in Tornado Alley are some of the most expensive in the U.S. to insure. You may get a break on your expensive homeowner’s insurance or tornado insurance if you can prove that you have made improvements to protect your home and belongings against twisters. Reinforced concrete, upgraded windows, and even a storm shelter (https://www.flatsafe.com/) may all help to lower your insurance costs. You can also assume a higher deductible, but if a storm hits, you will be required to pay more out of pocket to replace any items that may be damaged or destroyed. There are also some state government agencies that will offer separate insurance policies to cover what the insurance agencies will not, but you must seek them out to see if you are eligible or you can ask your insurance agent.

Having specialized insurance or going to the trouble of seeking it out may seem unnecessary, or even excessive. However, having that coverage, especially in a high hazard zone, will bring you peace of mind. For instance, Arizona is a desert state, so many people assume they do not need flood insurance or that their homeowner’s insurance would automatically cover an unusual flood. However, the ground in the Phoenix area is hard and does not absorb water quickly, so where there are torrential downpours, the water builds up quickly and often floods homes. If not properly insured with flood insurance, a homeowner can inherit a soggy mess—and a costly cleanup.

Another way to prepare for a tornado is to take stock of your possessions and important documents and put them away somewhere safe, preferably away from your home. You will want to photograph your valuables in case they are destroyed in a tornado and need to be replaced. If you happen to encounter a twister and have either damage or total destruction, you should file a claim as soon as possible to get reimbursed.

Investigate insurance opportunities with various companies. While your homeowner’s insurance may be with one company, you can shop around if you need specialized insurance. Hopefully, you will never need your tornado insurance, but when living in Oklahoma, it is much better to be safe than sorry.

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