Spring is finally here. While the beautiful blooms and warmer temperatures are welcome
arrivals, the severe weather is not. Even though we can’t stop the storms from coming,
we can make sure we are prepared to protect our loved ones and our property when they
do. Here are some tips to get you ready for spring in Oklahoma.
Protecting Yourself and Your Family
A watch means that weather conditions are favorable for tornadoes and a warning means
one has been spotted in your area.
If a tornado watch has been issued, move cars inside a garage or carport to avoid damage
from hail. Keep your car keys and house keys with you. If you have enough warning
time, move lawn furniture and yard equipment such as lawnmowers inside. Otherwise
they could become damaged or act as projectiles causing serious injury or damage.
Before the watches and warnings even get issued, have a plan in place. Practice getting in
your storm shelter, safe room or taking cover in the central part of your home. Know who
is in charge of gathering your pets and getting them to safety. And have a storm survival
kit that includes bottled water, a first aid kit, flashlights, a battery-operated radio, at least
three days of non-perishable food items, blankets, clothing, prescription drugs, eyeglasses
and personal hygiene supplies.
Create a Home Inventory
It may seem hard at first to record information about everything you have in your house,
but don’t let that put you off. The information you put in your home inventory can make
an insurance claim settlement faster and easier.
Once you’ve created your inventory, send the information to your insurance agent. If
using a paper record, keep your home inventory in a safety deposit box or another safe
place outside your home.
Collect and Know Your Insurance Information
Before a storm hits, review your insurance policies. Make sure you know what is and is
not covered. Ask your insurance agent or insurance company if you have questions.
Here are some special weather circumstances you should consider:
- Lightning- Damage caused by lightning, such as fire, is covered by standard
homeowners and business insurance policies. Some home and business insurance
policies provide coverage for power surges that are the direct result of lightning
striking a home or business. There is also coverage for lightning damage under
the comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy.
- Flooding- Flood damage is generally not covered by a standard homeowners or
renter’s insurance policy. This type of coverage is available through the federal
government’s National Flood Insurance Program. Make sure to purchase flood
insurance for the structure of your house as well as for the contents. Flood
damage on your car is covered under comprehensive coverage of your auto
insurance policy. However, comprehensive coverage is optional for Oklahoma
- Fallen Trees and Limbs- If a tree hits a home or other insured structure, like a
detached garage, standard homeowners insurance provides coverage for the
damage the tree does to the structure and the contents in it. It does not matter
whether you own the tree. If it lands on your home, you can file a claim with your
insurance company. The cost to remove the tree or branches will also be covered.
If a tree or branches cause damage to your car, the comprehensive coverage of
your auto policy would cover the cost of repair. But comprehensive coverage is
not required by law.
Finally, store electronic copies of your insurance policies with your home inventory and
keep paper files in a safety deposit box. Make sure to have a copy of your policy
declarations page listing all of your coverages, as well as your insurance cards.
Collect the 24-hour contact information for your insurance agent and insurer. Make a list
that includes your policy numbers, insurer and insurance agent’s phone numbers, website
addresses and mailing addresses. Also, check to see if the company or agent has an
emergency information hotline. It is a good idea to store this information – and your
home inventory – in a waterproof, fireproof box or safe. If you have a storm shelter or
safe room, keep this information in there.
For more ways to get ready for all types of Oklahoma weather, check out the Prepare Yourself section of our website. You can also contact the Oklahoma Insurance
Department at 1-800-522-0071 or find general insurance information at www.ok.gov.