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Earthquake Coverage | Missouri Department of Insurance

NEWS RELEASE: Missouri Department of Insurance Recommends Homeowners to Consult with their Insurance Agents for Earthquake Coverage

09/24/2015
As Published on Dept. Of Insurance BlogContact:  public.govdelivery.com

Missouri Department of Insurance | insurance.mo.gov

 

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Insurance is encouraging homeowners to check their insurance policies for earthquake coverage. Only three out of every 10 homes are covered in Missouri. That number drops to two out of every 10 homes in the New Madrid Seismic Zone.

The New Madrid area is the most active earthquake zone in the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains. Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage. Separate earthquake coverage, called an “endorsement,” must be purchased.

“Having earthquake coverage is the best way to ensure you and your family, as well as our state, can recover from an earthquake,” said Insurance Director John M. Huff. However, the department’s 2015 Earthquake Report shows that Missouri is experiencing a coverage crisis.

“We have reached a critical juncture where the amount of uninsured property in Missouri will soon eclipse the amount of insured residential property, estimated at $101 billion. This could jeopardize our ability to fully recover from a major earthquake.”

Some homeowners may not buy coverage, expecting the federal government to help rebuild their homes should a major earthquake hit, Huff said. Under FEMA’s Individual Assistance program, the maximum grant award is $32,900, far less than what most homes are worth.

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Alternatives Insurance of Chesterfield is part of the Trusted Choice Network (636) 449-1213

Contact Alternatives Insurance of Chesterfield to find out if your property qualifies for Earthquake Coverage. Give us a call! (636) 449-1213  Our agents will conduct a free assessment of your current policy and we will shop your insurance for you!  That’s right, simply provide your declarations page to an agent and we can process the assessment.  Our goal is to ensure you are properly protected.

Home Insurance Coverages Chesterfield MO

Are You Prepared If Something Happens To Your Home?

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

Have you been searching for the best ” Home Insurance Coverages Chesterfield MO “, and not quite sure what you need?  Your home is most likely your most valuable asset.  There are many risks as a homeowner Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield can help you avoid.  Risk questions we have heard from homeowners are:  What if something happens to my home?  A fire?  A flood?  Vandalism?  Will your insurance policy actually pay for the damage?  Will it pay for ALL of it?

Other liability risks include getting sued by someone.  If a person is visiting your home and slips and falls, suffering serious injury, they have rights to sue you and your home insurance needs to have the right coverage to avoid the risk of losing your home and ruin your financial security.

For most people, insurance is confusing. They know they need to have insurance coverages for their homes (mortgage lenders require it), but they don’t understand the protection provided by the policy.  And, more importantly, they don’t understand what their policy does NOT cover and what to do about that.

Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield can explain the various types of Home Insurance Coverages Chesterfield MO.  First, now all homeowner insurance is created equal.  In fact, almost none of it is.  There are thousands of different products out there, from hundreds of insurance companies. And your policy includes literally dozens of options and decisions you must make that determine how much insurance protection you actually have.  Your home policy is not a commodity.  It’s something tailored specifically to your needs and desires.

Six Primary Coverages That Are Included in Your Home Policy

Your home policy protects you in six primary ways.  You’ll find these listed on your policy’s “Declarations” page.  Here’s what they mean to you.

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, like many homeowners do, by thinking your homeowners insurance covers everything just because you have an insurance policy!  You must make sure your Dwelling Limit is enough to rebuild your home.  How?

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.

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, referred to as the “dwelling”.Home Insurance Coverages Chesterfield MO | Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield | (636) 449-1213

Other Structures have their own protection limit – the most your company will pay to rebuild them – as 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.

PERSONAL PROPERTY

Your personal property is all your stuff – furniture, clothing, electronics, appliances, etc.  It, too, 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

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!

Regardless of the protection limit for your personal property, there’s a very important question you must get answered.  How is your property protected … on an “actual cash value” basis or a “replacement cost” basis?  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 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.  Make sure you know how your policy works and check the price both ways.  Make the right decision for you.

LOSS OF USE

Home Insurance Coverages Chesterfield MO | Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield | (636) 449-1213If your home is badly damaged and you won’t be 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.

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 in our office.  Your current liability limit will be stated on your Declarations page.

MEDICAL PAYMENTS TO OTHERS

This 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.

It’s What’s NOT Covered That Will Hurt You

Imagine your home is damaged by a vehicle crashing through the garage.  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 want … and make sure your claims get paid by the insurance company.

BEWARE: IT’S NOT ALWAYS COVERED

Just because you have an insurance policy that doesn’t mean your home is covered for everything.  Your home insurance policy doesn’t cover you against every “cause of loss”.  What’s that?  Fire is a cause of loss.  High wind is a cause of loss.  These are also known as “perils” in insurance terminology.

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

If you want insurance against some of these perils, you can buy it … like earthquake or flood insurance.  However, some excluded perils are not insurable … like insect damage.  Be sure to discuss your policy exclusions with an agent in our office and buy the protection you really need.  Don’t be caught by surprise after the damage is done.  It’s too late to buy insurance then.

SPECIAL LIMITS ON PERSONAL PROPERTY

As if your home policy wasn’t complicated enough already it includes “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 … 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 only $1,000 of protection for stolen jewelry.  If your $2,500 diamond engagement ring is stolen you’ll get only $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!

The bottom line is it’s very important you fully discuss these conditions and special limits with your agent and buy the protection you need.  Otherwise, you could find yourself with a very nasty surprise … an unpaid claim!

CONDUCTING BUSINESS AT HOME

WARNING!  Your home policy has very strict limits and rules about business conducted at home.  The protection offered by your policy is severely limited if your claim arises from business activities.  Your business property has very little coverage.  And in some cases you may have no liability protection at all.

This is not something to take lightly and just assume everything will be fine.  Be sure to discuss your home business activities with a licensed agent in our office to make sure you’re still protected.

OTHER EXCLUSIONS AND OPTIONS

The standard home policy excludes protection for many reasons.  But then the insurance company gives you an opportunity to buy some of them back.

Additionally, 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. For example, your home has single-pane windows. After a loss, the local building department requires double-pane windows. This endorsement pays for the increased cost required by the new building code.  The cost for news windows could be substantial.

Packaged Endorsements – often times an insurance company will package the optional coverages people most commonly buy into a single endorsement.  That means for a lower price you can get several optional coverages added to your policy.

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

For more information about Home Insurance Coverages Chesterfield MO, visit The Missouri Home Insurance Guide .  An Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield agent can also assess your needs for home insurance and prepare a home insurance package that will best meet your needs.

 

Home Insurance Agent Chesterfield MO

If you have you been searching the internet for a “ Home Insurance Agent Chesterfield MO ”, your search is over! The agents of Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield provide homeowners insurance and services by the top rated insurance carriers in the country.  We have the products to protect your home in cases of fire, theft, storms and more.

Whether you’re just starting out renting or buying a home, or you’ve built the home of your dreams, Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield offers home insurance options that are right for you. We are your Home Insurance Agent of Chesterfield MO and can help you choose the best coverages to meet your needs.  From standard coverage options that provide basic protection for your home and property, all the way up to deluxe options that better protect your home’s value and assets like jewelry. You can even get coverage that protects you in the event of law suits or identity theft.  We also insure condos.

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

An Alternatives Insurance® Home Insurance Agent Chesterfield MO will get you the coverage you want with the savings you need. Our professional agents have access to a variety of insurance carriers that offer Homeowners Insurance, Renters Insurance, Landlord Insurance, Condo Insurance, Mobile Home Insurance, Catastrophe Insurance and more.

Since moving into your house, you’ve probably purchased a number of valuable items. At the very least, your house probably isn’t empty. Thankfully, your homeowners insurance covers some portion of your possessions after a loss, such as a fire or burglary. But how much does it cover, and is it enough to replace your most treasured assets?  How much have you thought about your insurance protection? If you have not taken a recent inventory and assessed the replacement value of your daily use items, it’s time for a review.  Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield agents have the tools and resources for you to take a proper inventory and make sure all the items are included.

Your basic homeowners insurance policy may not cover the replacement value of these items if they are destroyed or stolen. In this case, you may need to purchase a rider on your homeowners policy to cover these special items. Your local Home Insurance Agent Chesterfield MO can help to go over these items and the contents insurance needed to cover them.

Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield is 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.

Our “ Home Insurance Agent Chesterfield MO ” team is committed to professionalism.  Our dedication to superior 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.

Home Insurance Agent Chesterfield MO | Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield (636) 449-1213You can depend on us to solve 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.

Our agents have a strong work ethic and are 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.

Your search for “ Home Insurance Agent Chesterfield MO ” is over.  Welcome to Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield.

Home Insurance Quote Chesterfield MO

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

If you have you been searching the internet for a ” Home Insurance Quote Chesterfield MO ,” your search is over! The agents of Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield provide homeowners insurance and services by the top rated insurance carriers in the country. Our Personal Insurance offerings also include insurance products and risk valuation services.

Our agents serve as your full service insurance providers for auto, home, boat, RV, motorcycle, and power sports to include life and annuities.  We have you covered throughout all aspects of your life to protect what matters most. Because we offer a full line of insurance services, we can save you money with multi-policy discounts.  You will not get that benefit when you purchase your insurance coverages through multiple agencies.

Getting a Home Insurance Quote Chesterfield MO is simple.  Call one of our helpful staff members or agents. Have your home address, mortgage value and a good idea of the value of your personal belongings.  Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield will also provide you with a home inventory checklist, so that you may take a complete inventory of your personal belongings and make certain all your valuables are covered in your home insurance policy.

Home Insurance Quote Chesterfield MO Coverages

There are six levels of protection for your home.  Here is a list of the items you’ll find in your policy.  Complete details can be found on our homeowners page.

  1. Dwelling.  This is your home and attached structures, such as a garage.
  2. Other Structures.  These include structures not attached to the home, such as a storage shed.
  3. Personal Property.  This includes furniture, clothing, electronics, appliances, jewelry, etc.
  4. Loss of Use.  This coverage is important if you have damage to your home and you cannot live in it while it is being repaired.
  5. Liability Coverage.  This coverage pays if someone sues you for their injuries, on or off your property.
  6. Medical.  This coverage pays if a guest is injured on your property.

Be Careful:  Home Insurance Quote Chesterfield MO can vary greatly!

Homeowners Insurance policies in Missouri can be very different and have very different cost.  With hundreds of home insurance carriers and many different protection options, it is best to ask your agent for help making the decisions to be certain your personal belongings are protected.  Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield agents have your interest in mind. The best homeowners insurance purchase decision is often made with the help of a professional insurance agent – and we are available Monday through Saturday.

Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield has the Best Value and Customer Service agents with a combined high level expertise and relationships with top-rated companies and products that provide exceptional value to our clients.  Our trained, professional staff will do the research, analysis, and shopping for you.  You save time and money and get the best Chesterfield Missouri Home Insurance protection.

So, if you have you been searching the internet for a “ Home Insurance Quote Chesterfield MO ”, your search is over!  Call  Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield (636) 449-1213.

Insurance Savings Chesterfield Missouri

Insurance Savings Chesterfield Missouri by Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield (636) 449-1213Some things are like a light bulb coming on right in front of you.  Getting quotes from dozens of top-rated insurance companies just makes a lot of sense.  A local agent, shopping my insurance, getting me the coverages that I need for the lowest cost!  How bright!

Let an agent with Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield  shop your insurance to find the best price for the coverages you need.  Save Time and Money!  For Insurance Savings Chesterfield Missouri, call (636) 449-1213.

Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield is a full service Independent Insurance Agency representing many of Missouri’s premier personal and commercial lines insurance carriers.  We assess risks and shop for companies to find the best coverage for the lowest price. With a combined experience of over 60 years in the insurance industry, our agents are knowledgeable and competent specializing in autohome, renters, boat, motorcycle, business automobile, workers compensation, and general liability For Insurance Savings Chesterfield Missouri, call  (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.

Homeowner Insurance TIP: Washing Machine Hoses-Chesterfield MO

Alternatives Insurance of Chesterfield | (636) 449-1213Home Insurance TIP.   Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield Missouri will be providing useful insurance news and tips that will save you money and possibly prevent some bad claims.

If you have a washing machine, please check the connecting water hoses.  They should be the new flexible steel hoses — if you still have rubber hoses — you are likely to have a very bad water damage problem at some point. If you do have rubber hoses, please turn the water off to the washing machine when you leave for a few days–like on vacation. Water running out of your front door when you return home is not a fun experience.

More Insurance Tips about preventing claims and saving money coming soon!  Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield Missouri (636) 449-1213.  We provide insurance and financial services to all residence of Missouri.

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.

Tornado Preparation & Safety TIPs | Chesterfield Missouri

Tornadoes are Extremely DangerousTornado Preparation & Safety TIPS | Alternatives Insurance of Chesterfield (636) 449-1213

Tornadoes are one of nature’s most violent storms that occur in Fenton Missouri. Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield would like to make certain you have the right coverages on your home insurance in case your home is damaged by a tornado. The following tornado preparation and safety TIPs will help to save lives and lessen injuries and property damage.

Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long.

Every state is at some risk from this hazard. Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds obscure others. Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible. Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.

Tornado Preparation & Safety TIPs: How to Prepare for a Tornado

This article has been prepared to provide information about Tornado Preparation & Safety TIPs in Chesterfield Missouri.  Below are important links from the www.ready.gov site.

  • Before  How to prepare for Tornado Safety in Chesterfield Missouri
  • During  What to do during  a Tornado in Chesterfield Missouri
  • After   What to do after  a Tornado in Chesterfield Missouri
  • More Information  about Tornado Safety in Chesterfield Missouri
  • Preparing a Safe Room

 Tornado Preparation & Safety TIPs: Before a Tornado Strikes

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.
  • Be alert to changing weather conditions. Look for approaching storms.
  • Look for the following danger signs:
    • Dark, often greenish sky
    • Large hail
    • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
    • Loud roar, similar to a freight train.
    • If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.

Tornado Preparation & Safety TIPs: Tornado Facts

Quick facts you should know about tornadoes:

  • They may strike quickly, with little or no warning.
  • They may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.
  • The average tornado moves Southwest to Northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.
  • The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 mph, but may vary from stationary to 70 mph.
  • Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.
  • Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water.
  • Tornadoes are most frequently reported east of the Rocky Mountains during spring and summer months.
  • Peak tornado season in the southern states is March through May; in the northern states, it is late spring through early summer.
  • Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 pm and 9 pm, but can occur at any time.

Tornado Preparation & Safety TIPs: Know the Terms

Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a tornado hazard:

Tornado Watch – Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.

Tornado Warning – A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.

Tornado Preparation & Safety TIPs:  During a Tornado

If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately!  Most injuries associated with high winds are from flying debris, so remember to protect your head.

IF YOU ARE IN: THEN:
A structure (e.g. residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building)
  • Go to a pre-designated area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of a small interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
  • In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
  • Put on sturdy shoes.
  • Do not open windows.
A manufactured home or office
  • Get out immediately and go to a pre-identified location such as the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.
The outside with no shelter If you are not in a sturdy building, there is no single research-based recommendation for what last-resort action to take because many factors can affect your decision. Possible actions include:

  • Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park.
  • Take cover in a stationary vehicle. Put the seat belt on and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
  • Lie in an area noticeably lower than the level of the roadway and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.

In all situations:

  • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
  • Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.

Tornado Preparation & Safety TIPs: After a Tornado

Injury may result from the direct impact of a tornado or it may occur afterward when people walk among debris and enter damaged buildings. A study of injuries after a tornado in Marion, Illinois, showed that 50 percent of the tornado-related injuries were suffered during rescue attempts, cleanup and other post-tornado activities. Nearly a third of the injuries resulted from stepping on nails. Because tornadoes often damage power lines, gas lines or electrical systems, there is a risk of fire, electrocution or an explosion. Protecting yourself and your family requires promptly treating any injuries suffered during the storm and using extreme care to avoid further hazards.

Injuries

Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured people unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Get medical assistance immediately. If someone has stopped breathing, begin CPR if you are trained to do so. Stop a bleeding injury by applying direct pressure to the wound. Have any puncture wound evaluated by a physician. If you are trapped, try to attract attention to your location.

General Safety Precautions

Here are some safety precautions that could help you avoid injury after a tornado:

  • Continue to monitor your battery-powered radio or television for emergency information.
  • Be careful when entering any structure that has been damaged.
  • Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris.
  • Be aware of hazards from exposed nails and broken glass.
  • Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.
  • Use battery-powered lanterns, if possible, rather than candles to light homes without electrical power. If you use candles, make sure they are in safe holders away from curtains, paper, wood or other flammable items. Never leave a candle burning when you are out of the room.
  • Never use generators, pressure washers, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, basement, garage or camper – or even outside near an open window, door or vent. Carbon monoxide (CO) – an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if you breathe it – from these sources can build up in your home, garage or camper and poison the people and animals inside. Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed or nauseated.
  • Hang up displaced telephone receivers that may have been knocked off by the tornado, but stay off the telephone, except to report an emergency.
  • Cooperate fully with public safety officials.
  • Respond to requests for volunteer assistance by police, fire fighters, emergency management and relief organizations, but do not go into damaged areas unless assistance has been requested. Your presence could hamper relief efforts and you could endanger yourself.

Inspecting the Damage

  • After a tornado, be aware of possible structural, electrical or gas-leak hazards in your home. Contact your local city or county building inspectors for information on structural safety codes and standards. They may also offer suggestions on finding a qualified contractor to do work for you.
  • In general, if you suspect any damage to your home, shut off electrical power, natural gas and propane tanks to avoid fire, electrocution or explosions.
  • If it is dark when you are inspecting your home, use a flashlight rather than a candle or torch to avoid the risk of fire or explosion in a damaged home.
  • If you see frayed wiring or sparks, or if there is an odor of something burning, you should immediately shut off the electrical system at the main circuit breaker if you have not done so already.
  • If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open all windows and leave the house immediately. Notify the gas company, the police or fire departments, or State Fire Marshal’s office and do not turn on the lights, light matches, smoke or do anything that could cause a spark. Do not return to your house until you are told it is safe to do so.

Safety during Clean-up

  • Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves.
  • Learn proper safety procedures and operating instructions before operating any gas-powered or electric-powered saws or tools.
  • Clean up spilled medicines, drugs, flammable liquids and other potentially hazardous materials.

FEMA Publications

If you require more information about any of these topics, the following resources may be helpful.

Related Websites

Find additional information on how to plan and prepare for a tornado and learn about available resources by visiting the following websites:

Listen to Local Officials

Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.

What You Should Know about how Home Insurance Works with Tornado Damage

You don’t have to be a resident of the south or the midwest, where recent tornadoes wreaked havoc on thousands of lives, to get the message being sent by Mother Nature. It seems that she, too, is a strong advocate of homeowner’s insurance. And occasionally, she flexes her abilities to remind everyone within her reach about its importance.

But even those who have home insurance have been having trouble getting compensated for their losses, through no fault of the insurance companies. The fact is, tornado insurance is great to have, but if you don’t understand how it works, it can be pretty useless to you.

One of the things most often forgotten, and something that insurance agents are currently seeing a lot of in the wake of the recent tornadoes, is a lack on the part of insurance holders to catalog their possessions. You don’t have to go through your home jotting down every single refrigerator magnet – but if you intend to have that priceless grandfather clock insured, you’d better have record of its existence, as well as its value.

Alternatives Insurance® of Chesterfield insurance agents strongly urge our customers to use a camera to catalog all expensive belongings, and to gather as much proof of ownership and proof of value as possible so that there are no problems filing a claim in the event of disaster.


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.