How your insurance policy can help weather the storm

5 months 4 weeks 1 day ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 6:03:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in Weather
By: Tim Schmidt, KOMU 8 Meteorologist
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COLUMBIA - After the 2019 severe weather season and the recent hail storm in Jefferson City, Missouri residents were forced to contact their insurance providers to file storm damage claims for their property.

The night of may 22nd was a test for many in our community, including insurance personnel. 

Nick Rector, an insurance agent for Missouri farm bureau, described the following days after may 22nd as an “all hands on deck” moment for insurance claims service, who began providing door-to-door service for customers in Jefferson City and Eldon. His agency and many others provided also wrote claims checks on the spot to their customers. 

A few residents in the Jefferson City area were also temporarily displaced. Homeowners insurance provided them a stipend for a hotel until their house was liveable again.

Nick says the claims process is different for each situation and may depend on severity. The Jefferson City tornado claims were paid on-the-spot. Some claims may take several days to even a few weeks to pay out. Any backlog would be due to a larger-scale natural disaster, such as a hurricane Harvey or an earthquake. 

While others in Missouri were left unscathed by storms in 2019, it’s only a matter of time before another storm threatens your property.

Remember the winter of 2018-2019? Heavy snows, ice and winds lead to significant tree damage throughout Columbia. There may even still be a few trees that may still be in jeopardy of damaging your house or property in the next upcoming wind storm.

If a tree on your property falls on your house, Nick says your homeowners insurance policy would generally cover the repairs. This would also be true if your neighbor's tree fell on your house. You, the homeowner, would still be liable for the damages even if it was not your tree. 

However, if the tree was deemed unhealthy or dead, then a case for the neighbor’s liability could be made.

Finally, the 2019 spring-summer flooding season turned into a top 5 flood event for the midwest, including the Missouri River flood plain. This past season rivaled the floods of 1993 and 2008. Significant to historic flooding on the Missouri River took place along the floodplain from eastern Nebraska through St Louis, closing a large section of interstate 29 in northwest Missouri.

While communities like Columbia may not reside in a flood plain, Nick described that homeowners can still purchase flood insurance for their property, explaining that flash floods (which are very common in central Missouri) are an exclusion under homeowners policies. 

However, flood insurance would not cover contents belonging in a flooded basement or garage due to flooding, only the structure itself.

Storm damage to your property can be stressful. Creating a plan and having an understanding of what your insurance policy covers can take some of that stress away.

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