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PCI survey: Most Midwesterners are not prepared for tornado season

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By: Emily Miller April 21, 2015 0

PCI survey: Most Midwesterners are not prepared for tornado seasonBy Emily Miller

With severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes in the works for portions of Central and Midwestern parts of the U.S., the Property Casualty Association of America (PCI) encourages homeowners, renters, and business owners to take appropriate steps to be prepared by planning in advance.

Tornadoes and damaging wind storms can occur rapidly, with little warning which makes advance preparation critical for residents in the Midwest.

However, a recent survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of PCI shows that residents in the Midwest are least likely to feel they are well prepared for natural disasters or severe weather.

One of the keys to being prepared is having a disaster response plan that includes an emergency supply kit for food, water, first aid, as well as safely storing important documents and having a family communications plan with agreed upon meeting places.

The survey found that only 16 percent of Midwesterners have taken these steps compared to 21 percent of Americans overall.

However, Midwesterners were most likely, 76 percent, to say they have enough insurance to cover home damage or a total loss in the case of a natural disaster or severe weather event. But only 25 percent have

With severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes in the works for portions of Central and Midwestern parts of the U.S., the Property Casualty Association of America (PCI) encourages homeowners, renters, and business owners to take appropriate steps to be prepared by planning in advance.

Tornadoes and damaging wind storms can occur rapidly, with little warning which makes advance preparation critical for residents in the Midwest.

However, a recent survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of PCI shows that residents in the Midwest are least likely to feel they are well prepared for natural disasters or severe weather.

One of the keys to being prepared is having a disaster response plan that includes an emergency supply kit for food, water, first aid, as well as safely storing important documents and having a family communications plan with agreed upon meeting places.

The survey found that only 16 percent of Midwesterners have taken these steps compared to 21 percent of Americans overall.

However, Midwesterners were most likely, 76 percent, to say they have enough insurance to cover home damage or a total loss in the case of a natural disaster or severe weather event. But only 25 percent have conducted a yearly insurance review of their insurance policy and limits.

“This gap in preparedness could be the difference in how smooth your recovery will be in the aftermath of a storm,” said Chris Hackett, PCI. “The best way to reduce the chance you’re surprised if you sustain damage due to a severe weather event, is to talk with your insurance agent or company each year to go over your coverage.”

The survey has a positive finding in that 89 percent of Americans say having adequate insurance should be part of being prepared for natural disasters or severe weather.

“Take time this spring to get prepared, talk with your insurer to become more knowledgeable regarding your coverage and make sure your family has the right amount of protection,” said Hackett. “It’s important to be prepared both financially and physically for severe weather.”

Most tornado, windstorm, hail and similar severe weather-related losses are covered by either homeowners, renters or commercial insurance policies. Tornado losses to a home are covered by the “windstorm” peril under the homeowners insurance policy.

Renters insurance also provides coverage to policyholder possessions under this peril. Business owners are covered by their commercial policies. Protection from windstorm or hail damage for cars is covered under the “comprehensive” portion of the automobile insurance policy.

Throughout much of 2015, tornado activity has been near record low mostly due to a continuous pattern of a trough in the east, which has brought colder than average temperatures there, and a ridge in the west, which has brought warmer than average temperatures in the west. The pattern changed, slightly, in late March and early April to allow for some severe weather.

As of April 20, 2015, there has been approximately 100 tornadoes in the United States for this calendar year.

To help ensure your safety, the PCI has compiled a list of three mistakes to avoid taking this tornado season:

  1. Failure to conduct yearly insurance review
  2. Don’t take time to understand their coverage
  3. Failure to make a home inventory

Having adequate insurance should be part of being prepared for natural disasters or severe weather, according to 89 percent of survey respondents. Agents and brokers should discuss with their clients steps they can take to prepare for spring storms – both financially and physically.

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