Homeowners insurance blog

Protect Your Home from Sharknadoes (and Other Disasters)

A year ago, a new weather phenomenon captured the world’s attention. It wasn’t just any tornado that ravaged Los Angeles – it was a sharknado. Experts predict another will strike again – this time in New York City. Will you be ready this time?

With Sharknado: The Second One quickly approaching (on SyFy July 30), it’s a great time to think about storm preparation. While U.S. regions probably don’t really have to worry about swirling funnels of sharks dropping from the sky, unexpected weather can happen and sometimes it hits in unexpected places. Remember when Superstorm Sandy hit the Northeast in 2012? Or when the Polar Vortex left the South frozen earlier this year? What about the devastating flooding in Colorado in 2013? These storms caused billions in property damage, namely because these areas weren’t prepared to deal with them.

When severe and unpredictable weather hits your area, you’ll want to make sure you and your home are ready.  Here are a few things to consider when it comes to ‘freak’ weather and your home insurance policy:

What’s already covered?

Every home insurance policy is different; therefore, coverage can vary from provider to provider. However, standard home insurance policies typically cover certain weather-related perils. These include wind, wildfires, hail, lightning, and certain kinds of water damage – but not flooding.

And shark damage? Yes, it probably would be covered. At its heart, after all, a sharknado is a wind event (or would be). And the sharks plummeting on your house would be classified as falling objects – also covered. The big ‘if’ concerns a falling shark that damages your car – you’d likely be covered if you had optional comprehensive coverage – the same protection that helps if a deer runs in front of you.

Earthquakes and floods

Earthquakes and floods are two perils that are not often included in standard home insurance policies. For protection against these types of disasters, homeowners will have to purchase a separate policy or add an endorsement to their current home insurance policy.

Flood insurance is required for homes in flood plains. But all homeowners should consider purchasing it because even low risk areas can experience flooding. Check out www.floodsmart.gov and learn more about your flood insurance options.

For earthquakes, homeowners have the option of adding earth movement coverage in the form of an endorsement or as a separate policy. Keep in mind that earthquake insurance doesn’t just cover earthquakes but also other types of earth movement such as sinkholes or landslides.

Prepare your home and family

Outside of your home insurance policy, you can prepare your home and family for the unexpected in other ways.  First, check out the HomeInsurance.com Disaster Guide, which outlines preparations for several types of natural calamities.

Then start getting ready. Start by creating an emergency kit for your home. Fill it with items such as bottled water, nonperishable food, batteries, flashlights, blankets, emergency contact information, copies of personal documents, and a first aid kit. Keep this in an area of your home that’s accessible to all the members of your family.

To better prepare your home, you can install items like storm shutters or reinforce your roof with more sustainable materials. Strengthening certain areas of your home, such as your roof, will help it weather whatever storms (or falling sharks) may come your way – no matter which coast you’re on.