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Where to Learn more about Home insurance in Chesterfield MO

Understanding Your Options For The Best Protection

Where to Learn more about Home insurance in Chesterfield MO | Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield | (636) 449-1213Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield knows it is important to help home owners understand their options and how to best protect their family and belongings in case of a loss.  Our agents are here to help home owners know where to learn more about home insurance in Chesterfield MO.

There are many coverage options you can have in your policy.  On your declaration page you will see several terms; including dwelling coverage and personal property coverage.  The word dwelling in your home insurance policy actually refers to your home itself and attached structures, such as an attached garage.  One of our experienced agents can run a cost analysis that calculates the cost to rebuild your home. If you don’t adjust the amount of insurance for your dwelling appropriately, you may not have enough insurance to replace your home if disaster strikes.

Your personal property includes all your personal items, such as furniture, clothing, electronics, appliances, etc.  Your personal property limit is usually 70% – 75% of your dwelling limit.  However, you can adjust this upward if you need more protection, discuss your options with us. We’re here to help!

Detailed information about home owner insurance and how to contact us can be found on our website.

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Chesterfield MO Home Insurance

Six Primary Coverages That Are Included in Your Home Policy

Chesterfield MO Home Insurance | Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield | (636) 449-1213Have you been searching for ”Chesterfield MO Home Insurance,“ and you’re not quite sure what home insurance coverages are necessary to protect you, and one of your most valuable assets? Many of us have been in a situation where we need insurance and depend on our mortgage company or shop online, to find the least expensive home insurance coverage. Have you considered if something happens to your home whether your insurance policy will actually cover the damage?  Will it pay for ALL of it?  As a homeowner, there are many risks our agents can help you avoid.

For most people, insurance is confusing. Homeowners may not understand the liabilities that come with being a homeowner and the protection of having the right coverages in the insurance policy. Homeowners in Chesterfield Missouri should be aware that the majority of mortgage lenders require homeowners insurance.  This article, Chesterfield MO Home Insurance, will explain the primary insurance coverages that are included in your homeowners policy what they mean, what is not covered and additional coverages available to you.

CHESTERFIELD MO HOME INSURANCE:  DEFINITION OF DWELLING

The word Dwelling in your home policy actually refers to your home itself.  It includes attached structures, such as an attached garage. The Amount of Insurance (Dwelling Limit) listing on your Declarations page indicates the maximum amount your insurance company will pay to replace your home if it’s destroyed by a covered claim. But,is it enough?

Don’t make the mistake of thinking your homeowners insurance covers everything just because you have an insurance policy!  Among other issues, you must make sure your Dwelling Limit is enough to rebuild your home.

Contact Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield and one of our experienced agents can run a cost analysis that calculates the cost to rebuild your  home.  Be sure to adjust the amount of insurance for your dwelling appropriately.  If you don’t you may not have enough insurance to replace your home if disaster strikes.

Some policies include built-in protection above the stated Dwelling Limit – usually a percentage of the Dwelling – just in case the estimate is too low. We will make sure to discuss this with you as an additional protection feature.  It’s probably worth having.

CHESTERFIELD MO HOME INSURANCE:  OTHER STRUCTURES

The most common Other Structures are sheds, stand-alone garages (known as “detached” garages in insurance terms), barns, pool houses, etc.  These structures are not directly attached to your home, that are referred to as the “dwelling”.  Other Structures have their own protection limit – the most your company will pay to rebuild them will be stated on your Declarations page.  This limit will be significantly less than the dwelling limit … typically 10% – 20% of the dwelling amount.  For most people that’s plenty of insurance for other structures.  But not for everyone.  You need to know what it would cost to rebuild or replace those structures if they’re destroyed.  Discuss it with the licensed professionals in our office. You can buy more protection for your other structures if you need it.

CHESTERFIELD MO HOME INSURANCE:  PERSONAL PROPERTY

Your personal property includes all your personal items, such as furniture, clothing, electronics, appliances, etc. Similar to other structures, personal property has its own protection limit stated on your Declarations page.  And, again, this amount is the most the insurance company will pay to replace your personal property. You can also add a Ryder to your insurance policy that will cover jewelry; so long as you have the proper documentation like an appraisal from a qualified jeweler.  Your personal property limit is usually 70% – 75% of your dwelling limit.  However, you can adjust this upward if you need more protection,  Discuss your options with us. We’re here to help!Chesterfield MO Home Insurance | Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield | (636) 449-1213

Regardless of the protection limit for your personal property, there’s a very important question you must get answered.  How is your property protected?  It is determined by the “actual cash value” or “replacement cost”?  The difference is huge!  In very basic terms, if your property is protected on a replacement cost basis the insurance company will replace your old stuff with new stuff.  For example, if your 5-year old TV is destroyed in a covered claim, the company will pay for a brand new TV.  That’s a good deal for you.

But if your property is protected on actual cash value basis, an “allowance for depreciation” is applied to the cost of a new TV based on the age of your destroyed TV.  The result is you get a settlement amount less than the cost of a new TV.  To buy a new TV you’ll have to come up with the difference out of pocket.  Not as good of a deal for you.

Clearly, insuring your personal property on a replacement cost basis is a better advantage than actual cash value.  Sometimes it costs a bit more, but not always.  We can help you understand how how your policy works and can check the price both ways, to help you make the right decision.

 

CHESTERFIELD MO HOME INSURANCE:  LIABILITY

Your liability coverage pays if someone sues you for their injuries due to a covered claim.  When we think of such accidents we most commonly think of injuries that occur on your property – someone slips and falls, a dog bite, etc.  However, the liability protection under your home policy extends beyond your property to your everyday life.  Liability Insurance helps protect you against the financial burden arising from injury (or property damage) that you or your family may cause to other people. It typically even covers injuries whether they happen on or away from your property.

Liability insurance is all about protecting your assets from someone who sues you.  So, you should have at least as much liability insurance as your financial worth.  However, more than that may be prudent, and you should discuss your needs and risks thoroughly with a licensed agent at Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield.  Your current liability limit will be stated on your Declarations page.

CHESTERFIELD MO HOME INSURANCE:  MEDICAL PAYMENTS TO OTHERS

This coverage pays medical bills for a guest who is injured on your property or in another covered claim.  The idea is to do the right thing for someone – pay their medical bills – and then hope they don’t sue you.  This protection is inexpensive, but could save you major hassles by preventing a lawsuit.

CHESTERFIELD MO HOME INSURANCE:  LOSS OF USE

Loss of use coverage provides monies for alternative living if your home is badly damaged and are you not able to live in it while it’s being fixed or replaced.  That means you may have to pay rent somewhere or staying in a hotel while you’re also paying your mortgage.  The Loss of Use coverage on your home policy pays those additional expenses for you.

Your Declarations page may state a dollar limit for this coverage, or it may state a time limit.  If there is a dollar limit, this is the most the insurance company will pay for these expenses.  If there’s a time limit, your insurance will pay all covered expenses regardless of the amount but only for the specified period.

Coverage Exceptions

Imagine your home is damaged by a tree crashing through your roofChesterfield MO Home Insurance | Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield | (636) 449-1213.  You call your insurance agent to report the claim, and then you hear the worst news possible, “I’m sorry that’s not covered by your policy.”  Now, you have a real problem.

The unfortunate truth is no insurance policy covers you for everything that could possibly happen to you or your property.  However, with a little bit of understanding, you can make sure you have the protection you need, and you can rest easy knowing your claims get paid by the insurance company.

Just because you have an insurance policy, it does not mean everything and everyone in your home is covered.  Your home insurance policy does not cover you against every “cause of loss”. Examples of “cause of loss” include fire, high wind, and other “perils”.

A standard home policy excludes many causes of loss.  That is, it does NOT protect you from certain perils – like earthquake, flood, termite damage and many more.  That means if your home is damaged by one of these excluded perils your policy will not pay and you have no insurance against them.

You can purchase additional coverage to protect you from perils like earthquakes and floods.  However, some excluded perils are not insurable, such as insect damage.  Be sure to discuss your policy exclusions with an agent in our office and we’ll help you determine the best protection you need.  Don’t be caught by surprise after the damage is done.

CHESTERFIELD MO HOME INSURANCE:  SPECIAL LIMITS ON PERSONAL PROPERTY

As if your home policy wasn’t complicated enough already!  There are also “special limits” of protection for some of your personal property.  A “special limit” reduces the protection specifically available for certain types of property. Property subject to a special limit typically includes property used for business, cash & coin collections, jewelry & furs, guns, silverware, valuable art and more.

Additionally, some of these special limits apply only if the property is lost or stolen – making things just a little more confusing.  For example, the standard home policy typically includes $1,000 of protection for stolen jewelry. If your $2,500 diamond engagement ring is stolen, you will receive $1,000 from the insurance company.  Ouch!  And, if the stone falls out of the ring and is lost, there may be NO coverage at all!

It is very important you fully discuss these conditions and special limits with our agents and buy the protection you need.  Otherwise, you could find yourself with a very nasty surprise … an unpaid claim!

CHESTERFIELD MO HOME INSURANCE:  OTHER EXCLUSIONS AND OPTIONS

The standard home policy have exclusions for many reasons.  But then the insurance company gives you an opportunity to buy some of them back. So, you have the option of increasing protection where you personally need it.

There are literally dozens of optional coverages available in your home policy.  Here are some of the more common options available to you:

  • Identity Theft – many home insurers now offer protection for Identity Theft in their home policies.  This will help pay the expenses you incur to restore your identity if it’s stolen.
  • Water & Sewage Backup – the standard home policy excludes damage caused by a water or sewage system backup.  You can buy this protection if you want it.
  • Ordinance & Law – pays the increased costs of repairing or rebuilding your home that are required to be build in accordance to current building codes.
  • Packaged Endorsements – often times an insurance company will package the optional coverages people most commonly buy into a single endorsement for a lower price.

There are many more optional coverage and exclusion buy-backs our agents can explain to you. Its worth the time to spend with your Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield agent to understand the coverages available and make good decisions about your protection.


Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield has access to many insurance carriers and thousands of different products to choose from.  These insurance carriers allow us to tailor an insurance policy specifically to your needs and help cover your risks.

The Missouri Home Insurance Guide is a great resource to help you understand Chesterfield MO Home Insurance requirements.  Read through this guide and contact an agent with Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield to schedule a free consultation. (636) 449-1213

Fidelity National Insurance by Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield | (636) 449-1213 
Travelers Insurance by Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield | (636) 449-1213
Progressive Insurance by Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield | (636) 449-1213
Kemper Preferred Insurance by Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield | (636) 449-1213
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Hagerty by Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield | (636) 449-1213

Chesterfield Missouri Home Insurance | Claim Process

Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield will Help You through the Claim Process

Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield Home Insurance

(1)  Call Us. Your local Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield Agents are always available to help you review your Chesterfield Missouri home insurance policy coverages. Please call our Chesterfield Missouri Insurance office, and we’ll guide you through every step to make your experience goes as smooth as possible.  (636) 449-1213.  We help our clients with the claims process, regardless of how small or large the damage may be.

(2) What you can do during the claim process:

  • Most Chesterfield Missouri Home Insurance Policies require the insured to do what is reasonable to prevent further damage to the property. You or your contractor should patch walls or roofs by covering them with tarps, or cover shattered windows with plywood or heavy plastic.  Please be careful and have a licensed contractor perform any dangerous task, such as repairs to the roof.
  • Keep receipts and invoices associated with any emergency repairs to give to your claim representative. In the event your home is unlivable, save any receipts associates with costs for motel rooms, meals, etc. These may be reimbursable items as well.
  • Take inventory in each room of the house and provide a written assessment of all damaged/missing property, including descriptions, cost of items, and when items were purchased. Serial numbers or other identifiable marking are helpful as well.
  • For water damage, you may contact a company that specializes in water extraction and water damage mitigation.  Your Alternatives Insurance®  of Chesterfield agents will have a list of companies available in your area.

(3) Property Inspection.  Once you’ve reported your claim, the insurance carrier will have a claims specialist contact you (generally within 24 hours) to establish a date for inspecting the damages. The claims adjuster will come to your property and assess the damage, take photos, help you organize temporary repairs, or emergency services.

(4) Pay Your Deductible.  The insurance carrier will give you a complete damage estimate after a loss. This estimate will show the total dollar amount of your covered loss, less your deductible and depreciation (if applicable), and the net amount that will be paid toward the loss.

(5) Find a Contractor.  Most insurance carriers have a network of contracts to provide construction repairs following a property loss. Your claim service associate would be able to assist you to scheduling an inspection of your property and arrange for repairs. Using network contracts has its advantages as the insurance companies have pre-negotiated standards for the contracts to abide by such as:

  • Warranties on materials and labor provided
  • Contractors who have proper credentials and industry experience
  • Financially stable firms
  • Proper licensing
  • Worker’s compensation insurance protection for the contractors and workers
  • Strict performance standards that are monitored and measured

(6) Settlement Check.  In the event of a covered loss, most carriers will first pay you the Actual Cash Value (ACV) (actual cost less depreciation) for the damage to your property. When you replace the item or complete the specified repairs, the insurance carrier will pay you the difference between the replacement cost and the actual cash value amount previously paid. The total amount you will be reimbursed is subject to the terms and conditions of your particular policy, including deductible and limits. This may vary from company to company. You will receive a settlement check from your insurance provider, as soon as they have confirmed coverage and completed an investigation and comprehensive damage estimate. Every effort is made to issue payment on the claim as quickly as possible. If necessary, you may receive other authorized supplemental checks once proper re-inspections are performed or when your claim adjuster prepares a supplemental estimate. Your insurance carrier may be required by state laws and policy language to include any mortgagees/ lien holders on your settlement check(s).  If a mortgagee/lien holder’s name appears on your settlement check(s), the mortgagee/lien holder must sign off on the check before it can be cashed. You should contact your mortgagee/lien holder directly to determine the process for co-signing/cashing settlement checks.

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Why Choose Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield?

We’re committed to outstanding customer service

We start by offering the best insurance products at a reasonable price. But it’s the Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield team that really set us apart from the competition. With combined experience of 60 years, our sales and support staff members can handle your transactions quickly and efficiently. We service each and every account using out team of insurance professionals and we’re always available to answer your questions.

We’re committed to professionalism

Our dedication to client service comes from a culture of professionalism and respect. All of our associates at Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield have strong credentials and all of our policies are presented to you in a consistent and professional manner.

We’re committed to solving problems quickly

Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield has unique industry relationships, allowing us to provide exclusive insurance solutions to our customers. Additionally, every staff member is trained to actively listen and provide helpful answers presented in a way in which our policy holders clearly understand.

We’re committed to earning and maintaining your trust

We believe trust is something earned by listening to our customers while providing helpful advice and support. Trust and consistent underwriting practices is what we expect from our carrier partners, and in return we owe the same level of service to you.

Home Insurance and Weather Damage

Home Insurance and Weather Damage

Tornado Home Protection

Home Insurance | Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield (636) 449-1213

Even if you live outside “Tornado Alley,” the area of the country that runs north from Texas through eastern Nebraska and northeast to Indiana, you are still vulnerable to tornadoes. Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas may see more of these unpredictable and dangerous storms than other states, but the rest of the country also gets its share of twisters. Follow these steps to protect your family and your home from disaster.

First Things First

Structures built to meet or exceed current model building codes for high-wind regions have a much better chance of surviving violent windstorms. The Standard Building Code, issued by the Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc., is one source for guidance on fortifying your home against fierce winds. Although no home can withstand a direct hit from a severe tornado, solid construction will help your home survive if it’s to the side of the tornado’s path.

When inspecting your home, pay particular attention to the windows, doors, roof, gables and connections (roof-to-wall, wall-to-foundation). Residences in inland areas are typically not built to withstand high wind forces, and weaknesses in these elements of your home make it more vulnerable to significant damage.

If you’re handy with a hammer and saw, you can do much of the work yourself. Work involving your home’s structure may require a building contractor, however, or even a registered design professional such as an architect or engineer.

When working outside

  • Replace gravel/rock landscaping material with shredded bark.
  • Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed. Cut weak branches and trees that could fall on your house.

When building or remodeling

Windows: If you are replacing your existing windows, install impact-resistant window systems, which have a much better chance of surviving a major windstorm. These window systems are commonly available in hurricane-prone areas. If you are unable to find them locally, you can order them from manufacturers or home improvement stores in coastal areas.

Entry doors: Make certain your doors have at least three hinges and a dead-bolt security lock, with a bolt at least one inch long. Anchor door frames securely to wall framing.

Patio doors: Sliding glass doors are more vulnerable to wind damage than most other doors. If you are replacing your patio doors or building a new home, consider installing impact-resistant door systems made of laminated glass, plastic glazing or a combination of plastic and glass.

Garage doors: Because of their size and construction, garage doors are highly susceptible to wind damage. A qualified inspector can determine if both the door and the track system can resist high winds and, if necessary, replace them with a stronger system.

Garage doors more than 8 feet wide are most vulnerable. Install permanent wood or metal stiffeners. Or contact the door manufacturer’s technical staff for recommendations about temporary center supports you can attach and remove easily when severe weather threatens.

Roofs: If you are replacing your roof, take steps to ensure that both the new roof covering and the sheathing will resist high winds. Your roofing contractor should:

  • Remove old coverings down to the bare wood sheathing.
  • Remove sheathing to confirm that rafters and trusses are securely connected to the walls.
  • Replace damaged sheathing.
  • Refasten existing sheathing according to the proper fastening schedule outlined in the current model building code for high-wind regions.
  • Install a roof covering designed to resist high winds.
  • Seal all roof sheathing joints with self-stick rubberized asphalt tape to provide a secondary moisture barrier.

If you want to give your roof sheathing added protection, but it’s not time to re-roof, glue the sheathing to the rafters and the trusses. Use an adhesive that conforms to Performance Specification AFG-01 developed by APA — The Engineered Wood Association, which you can find at any hardware store or home improvement center.

Gables: Brace the end wall of a gable roof properly to resist high winds. Check the current model building code for high-wind regions for appropriate guidance, or consult a qualified engineer or architect.

Connections: The points where the roof and the foundation meet the walls of your house are extremely important if your home is to resist high winds and the pressures they place on the entire structure.

  • Anchor the roof to the walls with metal clips and straps (most easily added when you replace your roof).
  • Make certain the walls are properly anchored to the foundation. A registered design professional can determine if these joints need retrofitting, and a qualified contractor can perform the work the design professional identifies.
  • If your house has more than one story, make certain the upper story wall framing is firmly connected to the lower framing. The best time to do this is when you remodel.

When a tornado threatens

While no home can ever be made “tornado-proof,” you can improve the odds of your home surviving high winds by taking these precautions. Take these additional steps to protect yourself and your family:

  • Decide in advance where you will take shelter (a local community shelter, perhaps, or your own underground storm cellar or in-residence “safe” room). When a tornado approaches, go there immediately. If your home has no storm cellar or in-residence “safe” room and you have no time to get to a community shelter, head to the centermost part of your basement or home — away from windows and preferably under something sturdy like a workbench or staircase. The more walls between you and the outside, the better.
  • Become familiar with your community’s severe weather warning system and make certain every adult and teenager in your family knows what to do when a tornado watch or warning sounds. Learn about your workplace’s disaster safety plans and similar measures at your children’s schools or day care centers.
  • Study your community’s disaster preparedness plans and create a family plan in case you are able to move to a community shelter. Identify escape routes from your home and neighborhood and designate an emergency meeting place for your family to reunite if you become separated. Also establish a contact point to communicate with concerned relatives.
  • Put together an emergency kit that includes a three-day supply of drinking water and food you don’t have to refrigerate or cook; first aid supplies; a portable NOAA weather radio; a wrench and other basic tools; a flashlight; work gloves; emergency cooking equipment; portable lanterns; fresh batteries for each piece of equipment; clothing; blankets; baby items; prescription medications; extra car and house keys; extra eyeglasses; credit cards and cash; important documents, including insurance policies.
  • Move anything in your yard that can become flying debris inside your house or garage before a storm strikes. Do this only if authorities have announced a tornado watch, however. If authorities have announced a tornado warning, leave it all alone.
  • Don’t open your windows. You won’t save the house, as once thought, and you may actually make things worse by giving wind and rain a chance to get inside.
  • Don’t try to ride out a tornado in a manufactured home. Even manufactured homes with tie-downs overturn in these storms because they have light frames and offer winds a large surface area to push against. In addition, their exteriors are vulnerable to high winds and wind-borne debris.

Finally, review your homeowners insurance policy periodically with your insurance agent or company representative to make sure you have sufficient coverage to rebuild your life and home after a tornado. Report any property damage to your insurance agent or company representative immediately after a natural disaster and make temporary repairs to prevent further damage.

For information about filing an insurance claim after a natural disaster, contact your insurance agent or insurance company.

Source: Institute for Business and Home Safety. IBHS is a national nonprofit initiative of the insurance industry to reduce deaths, injuries, property damage, economic losses and human suffering caused by natural disasters.

 

Tornado Storm Shelters

Home Insurance | Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield (636) 449-1213

When a deadly tornado hits, moving into an interior room or closet of your home – as many guidelines recommend – might not offer enough protection. That’s why some homeowners choose to build or buy a family storm shelter.

What kinds of storm shelters are there?

Three main types of shelters are designed to help protect you from severe weather. While each is intended to keep you and your family safe, each has its pros and cons.

Underground: A modern version of the old “storm cellars,” these shelters are usually safe from flying debris and high winds. If you have to go outdoors (however briefly) to get inside, it can be difficult to access them if conditions outside are hazardous. Installation can be a problem, depending on the type of rock and the water table in your area.

In-residence: These act more like fortified closets, so they are more accessible when a tornado is imminent. They are usually built into a new house using reinforced concrete, reinforced masonry or wood/steel combinations. Building one into an existing house can be difficult and costly. Alternatives include pre-built metal shelters that are not only easier to install, but can be placed almost anywhere in the house.

Community: If a family shelter isn’t an option, community shelters can hold multiple families (from as few as a dozen people to several hundred). Commonly used in manufactured housing areas, these shelters are usually above ground – which exposes them to flying debris – but many more lives can be saved.

What’s the best storm shelter?

There’s no one authority to tell you what the best storm shelter is, nor can the federal government endorse a specific type of storm shelter as being “the best.” However, safety standards for storm shelters and shelter components have been established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to ensure that you will be protected in most tornadoes, while the National Storm Shelter Association has also established a shelter standard.

The Wind Science and Engineering Research Center at Texas Tech University performs tests on shelters and various shelter components to see if they meet both sets of guidelines. Researchers use high-powered air cannon to shoot wooden two-by-fours at shelter walls and doors to simulate flying debris, while another test uses a wind tunnel to simulate the high winds and stress that walls would encounter. These tests and guidelines can help you choose the shelter that can best protect your family when a real tornado hits.

FEMA guidelines

The following rules are only a few of the federal guidelines established by FEMA. More information, including building plans, materials and more is available either by calling 1-888-565-3896 and requesting publication FEMA 320 (“Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room Inside Your House”).

High winds: Tested with a 3-second gust of 250 mph.

  • Walls, doors and ceilings must be able to withstand the peak wind velocity without buckling or separating.
  • The shelter cannot overturn or slide.

Debris: Tested with a 15 lb. two-by-four wooden board propelled at 100 mph (250 mph wind equivalent)

  • The walls and ceiling of a shelter must resist penetration by a test object.

Other requirements:

  • Shelters must have a protected ventilation system.
  • Shelters should have at least one fire extinguisher, flashlights, a first-aid kit, 8 hours’ supply of drinking water, and a NOAA weather radio.

Additional requirements for underground shelters:

  • Shelters must be watertight and resist flotation due to saturated soil.
  • Shelters must contain a transmitter of some sort to signal the location of the shelter to emergency personnel, should debris trap shelter occupants.

Where can I find more information?

The National Storm Shelter Industry standard is available at: http://www.nssa.cc

Texas Tech’s Wind Science and Engineering Research Center explains the testing process and has a number of links: http://www.wind.ttu.edu

Source: National Weather Service, Huntsville, Ala.

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http://www.tornadoproject.com/safety/safety.htm

Tornado Safety

Here in the USA, tornadoes have occurred in every month, so any time is a good time to review tornado safety procedures – for home, for school, for work, in the car, and while out and about. And if you are considering a storm shelter, take a look at our page about shelters.


monthly distribution of killer tornadoes from 1950 to 2011

Each year about a thousand tornadoes touch down in the US. Only a small percentage actually strike occupied buildings, but every year a number of people are killed or injured. The chances that a tornado will strike a building that you are in are very small, however, and you can greatly reduce the chance of injury by doing a few simple things.

One of the most important things you can do to prevent being injured in a tornado is to be ALERT to the onset of severe weather. Most deaths and injuries happen to people who are unaware and uninformed. Young children or the mentally challenged may not recognize a dangerous situation. The ill, elderly, or invalid may not be able to reach shelter in time. Those who ignore the weather because of indifference or overconfidence may not perceive the danger. Stay aware, and you will stay alive!

If you don’t regularly watch or listen to the weather report, but strange clouds start moving in and the weather begins to look stormy, turn to the local radio or television station to get the weather forecast.

Check The Weather Channel for additional information, or if you have trouble getting up-to-the-minute forecasts on a regular radio, then a “NOAA weather radio” is a wise investment.

If a tornado “watch” is issued for your area, it means that a tornado is “possible.”

If a tornado “warning” is issued, it means that a tornado has actually been spotted, or is strongly indicated on radar, and it is time to go to a safe shelter immediately.

Be alert to what is happening outside as well. Here are some of the things that people describe when they tell about a tornado experience:

  1. A sickly greenish or greenish black color to the sky.
  2. If there is a watch or warning posted, then the fall of hail should be considered as a real danger sign. Hail can be common in some areas, however, and usually has no tornadic activity along with it.
  3. A strange quiet that occurs within or shortly after the thunderstorm.
  4. Clouds moving by very fast, especially in a rotating pattern or converging toward one area of the sky.
  5. A sound a little like a waterfall or rushing air at first, but turning into a roar as it comes closer. The sound of a tornado has been likened to that of both railroad trains and jets.
  6. Debris dropping from the sky.
  7. An obvious “funnel-shaped” cloud that is rotating, or debris such as branches or leaves being pulled upwards, even if no funnel cloud is visible.

If you see a tornado and it is not moving to the right or to the left relative to trees or power poles in the distance, it may be moving towards you! Remember that although tornadoes usually move from southwest to northeast, they also move towards the east, the southeast, the north, and even northwest.

Encourage your family members to plan for their own safety in many different locations. It is important to make decisions about the safest places well BEFORE you ever have to go to them.

Is it likely that a tornado will strike your home or school? No. But being ready for the possibility will keep you safer!

Deaths and injuries from tornadoes have dropped dramatically in the past 50 years. Casualties numbers are holding steady as scientists learn more about tornadoes and develop the technologies that detect them sooner. Forecasters must continue to improve techniques because the population is increasing. The National Weather Service, Storm Prediction Center, and television and radio weather people have taken full advantage of the advancements in tornado prediction to improve warnings.

In addition, many people generously donate their time and expertise to help protect their neighbors and communities in another way — by tornado and severe storm “spotting.” “Spotters” combine an interest in the weather, a willingness to serve and often, ham radio experience to make tornado prone areas safer for all. Spotting can provide a focus to a person’s interest in the weather, and ham radio helps you meet other like-minded people. It is not often that something that starts out as a hobby can potentially do so much good. If you are interested in Skywarn training and becoming a spotter, check out the National Skywarn page.