Extension BannerReview Insurance Before Disaster

Rosemary K. Heins


The weather forecasters have spoken and are predicting spring flooding in several areas of Minnesota.  Whether you live in a flood prone area or not, it’s good to review what your homeowners insurance policy does cover.  There are other natural disasters besides floods.

However, flood damage is an exception since that type of damage is not covered by standard homeowner policies.  And you need to keep in mind that few policies cover the cost of all damages no matter what the cause.  Review your policy with your insurance agent before disaster strikes.  You may decide you need additional coverage.  In general, property insurance will include some coverage for ‘fire or lightning damage,’ and/or “wind and hail damage” which is typical damage from tornados.

Find out whether claims are paid on the basis of replacement cost or current market value.  Will the reimbursement cover total replacement cost or a given percentage of the replacement cost?

Do you have a household inventory of personal property?  This could be done by photos or video as well as a content listing.  It would be wise to store a copy of this inventory in another secure location, other than your home.  This may be with another trusted family member, too.

If you are a renter, do you have renter’s insurance?  Renter’s insurance is usually not expensive. If you have insured vehicles, ask the insurance agent about the cost of adding on renter’s insurance.  In a recent flood recovery research study, it was found that renter’s were among those not helped by government recovery programs.

Be ready for disaster when it happens – check out how your property is insured.

Developed by Rosemary K. Heins, University of Minnesota Extension, 2/2010