COLUMBUS – September is National Preparedness Month and the Ohio Department of Insurance is providing insurance information to help Ohioans ensure they have adequate financial protections in place to avoid costly setbacks in the event disaster strikes.
Maintain your property
Secure loose siding, roofing, gutters, and shutters that could break free and cause damage. Remove dead branches and/or trees. They are destructive in high winds. Consider an annual roof inspection for loose shingles, rotted wood, and leakage.
Review your insurance and coverage
Most damage to a structure and its contents caused by water (not flooding), hail, wind/tornado, lightning, fire, and explosions are generally covered by a standard property insurance policy after certain policyholder deductible payments are met. Engage an insurance agent to make sure you have adequate coverage amounts. Protection from earthquake, flooding, sewer back up, and sinkhole damage, among other excluded risks that could be listed in your policy, often require the purchase of additional coverage.
Assess your roof repair/replacement deductible
Most policies have a wind/hail deductible to pay before insurance coverage begins. It’s either a flat dollar amount, or a percentage amount based on the home’s insured amount, not the damage amount. Be clear on how much you may have to pay.
Purchase flood insurance
Flooding is not covered in a standard policy. Talk with an agent, call the National Flood Insurance Program at 1-877-336-2627, and/or visit www.floodsmart.gov about purchasing coverage. Ask an agent if damage caused by a sewer or drain back-up is appropriate to add to your policy.
Review personal possessions coverage options
If you have a loss, actual cash value pays the value of the item the day it was destroyed. Replacement cost coverage pays in accordance with the value of a comparable item at the current market price. Renters should consider renters insurance to protect their possessions.
Ask about after the fact expenses
Determine if the policy pays for such things as fire department charges, temporary repairs, debris removal, trees and shrubs, personal property storage, and certain living expenses.
Complete a home inventory
Listing your possessions with photos and their values will prove worthwhile in a claim filing situation and help you determine if you have adequate insurance coverage. Download the free phone app myHOME Scr.APP.book or print a paper version at www.insurance.ohio.gov.
For more, including how to navigate the claim filing process, use the Ohio Department of Insurance disaster preparation and recovery toolkit at www.insurance.ohio.gov. You can call the department's insurance experts at 1-800-686-1526 with your insurance questions or send them to email@example.com.