An unusually dry winter in California could mean a fierce wildfire season, and in other regions across the country, tornadoes and hurricanes are known to peak during the warmer months. This means now is a prudent time to review your homeowners insurance coverage and assess if it will meet your needs should disaster strike.
In California, state officials are warning residents to be prepared, and so is the Insurance Information Network of California (IINC), which suggests five cost-free steps to protect your home.
"In today's economy, everyone has to make some tough cuts," said Candysse Miller, IINC executive director, in a statement. "But you don't have to spend a fortune -- or in some cases, anything -- to help guard your household against loss."
The IINC notes that the advice is important for homeowners and renters across the country, and is especially relevant for those in natural disaster danger zones. Hurricane season hits the Gulf of Mexico and Eastern Seaboard states beginning in June, and tornadoes are always a threat to much of America's heartland, especially during the spring and summer.
The IINC recommends these "freebie fixes":
There have been several natural catastrophes recently, leaving broad swaths of destruction. Hurricane Irene, which tore through the East Coast in August, is caused between $2 billion and $4.5 billion in insured losses in the U.S, according to catastrophe risk modeler Risk Modeler Solutions.
And the figures from the deadly tornadoes that killed 116 and destroyed almost one-third of Joplin, Mo., in May are telling. According to the Missouri Department of Insurance (MDI), claim payouts for residential, auto and commercial damage have exceeded $1 billion and continue to grow. John M. Huff, MDI's director, says the amount could reach $2 billion (including those for home and commercial property, by far the greatest damage segments) once every claim is processed.
With that in mind, it may be a good time to review what homeowners insurance firms offer in home replacement coverage. The information comes from the Insurance Information Institute (III) and Lisa Lobo, a vice president for product management at The Hartford.
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