Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

This week marks Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week and the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness has some very helpful tips for families.

Flooding has been an especially significant problem in the state during the last several years, and insurance is not included in a typical homeowner's and renter's policy. It is instead madeavailable by a federal program.

There is a 30-day waiting period before coverage becomes effective. You shouldalsoinquire with youragentifcoveragefordamage caused by asewer or drainback-upisavailable andappropriate to add to yourpolicy.

Advance Insurance Planning Tips:

  • Be sure you have adequateinsurancecoverage and deductibles that are reasonable for your needs.
  • Damage caused by rain, hail, lightning and tornadoes are generally coveredbya standard homeowner'sinsurance policyandanauto insurancepolicy's "comprehensive" or "other than collision"coverage.
  • Callyour agent orthe National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) at1-888-379-9531and visitwww.floodsmart.govto learn more about flood insurance.
  • Download the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) home inventory app from the Apple App Store or GooglePlay. A paper version is available atwww.insurance.ohio.gov. Include as many details as you need and take photos of your possessions.

Post Storm Recovery and Insurance Tips:

  • Call your insuranceagent orcompany as soon as you can.Be sure your agent knows how to contact you, especially if you have to move out of your home.
  • Take reasonable steps to prevent additional damage if permitted by public safety authorities and if you will not endanger yourself.
  • Closely inspectyourproperty and cars for damage.Note and photograph any damage.
  • If required to seek temporary housing, check yourhomeowner's insurancepolicy for "loss of use" coverage.
  • Be sure everything is considered in your claim.Back up claims with written estimates.

How toAvoid Contractor Fraud:

  • Obtain a list of reputable contractors from your insurancecompany, the Better Business Bureau or a specialized consumer organization.
  • Contact multiple contractors and obtain more than one estimate. Do not allow a contractor to inspect your property when you are not home.
  • If you give a contractor permission to inspect your property, personally watch them conduct the inspection.
  • Obtain the terms and conditions of the project in writing.
  • Avoid signing a contract until the document is reviewed fully and/or discuss the terms of the contract with a legal representative or a trusted adviser.
  • Paythecontractor by check or credit card, rather than in cash, and do not pay in fulluntil all work has been finished.

Ohioanscan visit the Department's Severe Weather Awareness Toolkit atwww.insurance.ohio.govand call 800-686-1526withinsurance questions.Those who have been victimized by contractor fraud should contact the Department's fraud hotline at800-686-1527. You can follow theOhioDepartmentof Insuranceon Facebook and Twitter.

Visitwww.weathersafety.ohio.govfor importantweathersafety information produced by the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness.