Severe Weather on My Mind

Severe Weather on My Mind

Severe weather is everywhere. Just last year, there were eight weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its National Weather Service (NWS) focus on getting weather-related information, alerts and warnings out to the nation. The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) works with NOAA and the NWS to teach preparedness and strengthen response and recovery efforts.

With tornado season peaking between the months of March and May, GEMA reminds residents that being prepared does not have to be complicated or expensive.

Being Prepared & Staying Safe

Simple steps such as assembling a disaster supplies kit, creating a family emergency plan and having a NOAA weather radio can make all the difference when bad weather blocks roads and knocks out power. GEMA encourages residents to have real answers to basic questions, such as how will your loved ones find one another if they are separated and what will you do if your utilities are cut off?

Safeguarding Your Property

In addition to personal concerns, there are certain property-related issues that can be addressed in advance. Since it may be difficult to prove to your insurance company what was lost in a disaster, document your possessions and keep that evidence in a safe place outside your house. Making a list and photographing or recording all valuables, furniture, electronics, etc., can be priceless if a natural disaster strikes. Keep your insurance policy numbers and your agent’s phone number in a safe place, and contact him or her immediately if your property is damaged in a weather emergency.

All this insurance prep makes it a good time to revisit your homeowner’s policy and be sure you have the coverage that best suits your needs. For example, there is a big difference between actual cash value (ACV) and replacement cost coverage for your things. An ACV policy replaces contents at cost minus depreciation, while replacement cost coverage replaces contents at today’s prices.

Furthermore, many people are not aware that standard homeowner’s insurance policies cover damage from high winds and tornadoes but not from floods (unless you have a mobile home).

In order to get flood protection, a separate policy must be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program. However, this can only be purchased if your community participates in the national program, so check your policy.

If you have any questions about this topic, you can visit gema.ga.gov or ready.ga.gov. If a severe weather event has injured you or damaged your property, discuss it with one of the attorneys at the Macon, GA-based Mann Law Firm. We are ready to provide you with a free and confidential initial consultation. Contact us by calling (478) 742-3381 or using our online form.