It's that time of year, again. Severe thunderstorms, damagingwinds, large hail and tornadoes are currently in the forecast for large portions ofthe United States.


Tornadoes can strike in any season, but occur most often in thespring and summer months, according to


Damage caused by tornadoes is covered under standardhomeowners' and business insurance policies, and under theoptional comprehensive portion of an autoinsurance policy, according to the Insurance Information Institute.


Make sure your insurance clients are prepared for severe springweather, including tornadoes, with this handy home and autoinsurance coverage checklist, created from recommendations by Mila Araujo, whohas almost 20 years experience in the insurance industryin roles from customer service and sales to underwriting andmanagement, and is an author for the personal finance website,thebalance:

1. Verify your home is insured for its current value.

The biggest risk you may face if your home suffers major damageduring a severe storm or tornado is being underinsured. Withchanging costs of construction materials and labor, home insurancereconstruction costs have increased over the years.


Some policies include guaranteed replacement cost, but the limitmay be capped. Inquire about policy endorsements available toyou to guarantee you are fully covered in a major loss.

2. Find out what kind of home insurance policy you have.

Do you have an All Risk or Open Perils policy to ensure themaximum protection for your home and personal property?

3. Find out if you have a specific deductible in theevent of a tornado or windstorm.

Higher risk areas may impose higher deductibles.

4. Understand the claims process before you have to make aclaim.

Find out what the basis of claims payment will be. Do youhave Replacement Cost, Actual Cash Value (ACV) or aReplacement Value with Cash Out Option? Cash Out options are lesscommon and only available for high-end insurance policies.

5. Does your policy have any special limits or policyfeatures?

You may want to purchase additional protection for valuableitems, such as jewelry or collections.

6. Prepare an inventory of the contents in you home, includingcontents in additional structures like tool or garden sheds.

Take video while you walk around your property or take photosand store these in a safe place, ideally with copies off-site or inthe possession of someone you can trust.


Related: 5 tips to creating a home inventory for aninsurance claims

7. Find out what kind of coverage you have if there is a powerfailure.

Related: Is insurance coverage on when the power goesoff?

8. Find out what your limit is for Additional Living Expenses(ALE) and how you can expect the coverage to work.

During a devastating loss, like damage to your home from a majorwindstorm or tornado, you may not be able to live in your homewhile repairs are done in the area, or to your property. Thiscoverage will be vital in major losses. Homeowners who have amortgage will still be expected to pay that loan back while thehome is being rebuilt.


Additional living expenses cover the increased cost of livingdue to the displacement, and this includes that extra rent you willhave to pay for your temporary home or the higher costs of food ifyou have to eat out because you don't have a kitchen to make yourmeals in for a while.

9. Make sure your car insurance includes comprehensivecoverage, for damage such as hail, falling objects andwindstorms.

Vehicles are at risk to all kinds of damage in storms.

10. Ask if you have coverage for a rental car is your carneeds repairs.

It's nice to have insurance coverage that replaces or repairsthe vehicle, but the time you spend without a car while you wait toget your vehicle back can be challenging. If you need your carduring that time, it could cost you a lot of money to rent one.Coverage for a rental loaner, while your car is repaired, is notexpensive to add to your policy.

11. If you have a vehicle in “storage” make sure you haven'tforgotten about coverage (or deleted coverage) while it's instorage.

Liability coverage will not protect your car from physicaldamage that often occurs during storms and tornadoes.

12. If you sustain storm damage, contact your insurer as soonas possible and start the claims filing process.

After tornadoes and other disasters, insurance companies willreach out to those with the worst losses first.

13. Do you have flood insurance?

The risk of flood is substantial and it's constantly and rapidlychanging. Currently, only about 6% of the U.S. population isinsured for the perils of flood.


Choosing flood insurance used to be a relatively simpledecision. Property owners had two options: no insurance orone-size-fits-all, government-issued insurance throughthe National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).


Now, there are more choices. Private flood insurance isgrowing more robust, bringing new and relevant options that werenever available before, such as coverage for additional livingexpenses, enhanced basement coverage and increased limits forvarious risk classes.


Learn more:


6 ways to tornado-proof your home


Disaster preparedness tips forhomeowners


5 keys to preparing fortornadoes

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free PropertyCasualty360 Digital Reader

  • All news coverage, best practices, and in-depth analysis.
  • Educational webcasts, resources from industry leaders, and informative newsletters.
  • Other award-winning websites including and

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

Jayleen R. Heft

Jayleen Heft is the digital content editor for Contact her at [email protected].