Saturday evening Feb 25th, at approximately 5:30pm, a line of storms raged through Northern Pennsylvania and swept into the Hudson Valley. After an almost uncomfortably warm series of days, this cold front came though bringing with it hail, high winds and a tornado!
A weather service team says the tornado in the Pittston Township area of Luzerne County, PA will be classified as an EF-2 with wind speeds of 120 mph. David Elmore, deputy coordinator of the Luzerne County Emergency Management Agency, said about 30 homes were damaged, six seriously, in Pittston.
Most people who reside in the New York Tri-State area are always a bit shocked when they hear of a tornado touching down in their backyards. Many seem to believe that tornados are simply a problem of “The Plains” … residing in the flat Mid-West or Southern States. According to data from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, during January, there were 138 preliminary tornado reports. This is almost four times greater than the 1991-2010 average of 35 for the month. Tornado activity is on the rise this year and may be one of the worst years since 1950. Where does that leave an insurance client when it comes to his home? For flooding homeowners often need a separate Flood Policy, for earthquakes, an additional policy also. What about tornadoes?
All Homeowners Policies all protect your home and its contents against certain perils (i.e., specific events that can damage your home and property). Fortunately, windstorms are one of the basic perils that all of the standard homeowner’s policies cover. This means you'll generally be compensated for your losses if a tornado, hurricane, or other windstorm causes damage to your home or the personal belongings inside.
Still, homeowners concerned about tornadoes should make sure their policies match their financial needs. Policies with a higher deductible likely will translate into lower premiums, but you will end up paying more out of your own pocket if a tornado damages or destroys your house, Hackett says. Make sure you can cover the deductible. Otherwise, consider a higher premium with a smaller deductible.
So, what do you do if a tornado or wind, damages your home:
- Take photos of all the damage. This will be a great assistance for processing your Homeowners insurance claim. Record any conversations and store any receipts you receive after the storm. Your personal degree of organization is directly related to how swiftly any problems will be resolved.
- Minimize the damage by cleaning up immediate after the photos are taken. Insurance companies will want you to document damage, but do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.
- Create a home inventory list now BEFORE any events occur. When the tornado warnings go off, taking shelter is top priority. On the other hand, taking inventory of your belongings is probably the last thing on anyone’s mind. That’s why it’s vital to create a home inventory list ahead of time. Having a detailed list ready to hand off to a claims adjuster after a natural disaster can make the process easier and will help you receive adequate restitution. There are many apps that are available for this, including: https://knowyourstuff.org
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