Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week

Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week is April 17-21cyclone-2100663_1920

Madison, WI—Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel is advising Wisconsin residents to be prepared for severe weather season.

“Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week is a helpful reminder to check your plans to ensure your family’s safety and preparedness,” said Commissioner Nickel. “Confirm your insurance policies are updated and provide you with adequate coverage alleviating additional problems after a storm hits.”

Consumers should prepare ahead of time by making sure they have a comprehensive inventory of their personal property. See the Personal Property Home Inventory on OCI’s Web site at oci.wi.gov/Documents/Consumers/PI-224.pdf.

Your policy review should include all insurance coverage, not just a homeowner’s policy. Reviewing auto insurance policies will help determine if you are covered for storm damage to your vehicle. Consumers should also consider adding coverage for their living expenses if their homes become uninhabitable due to storm damage. Business owners should consider purchasing business interruption coverage to protect them if storm damage shuts down their business for an extended period of time.

Typical homeowner’s policies usually provide coverage for damage that is the result of severe weather such as damage from hail or high winds. An exception is that damage caused by flooding is typically not covered. For protection against floods, you must purchase a separate policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Check with your insurance agent or insurance company about signing up for NFIP protection.

Damage resulting from sewer backup and sump pump problems is also rarely covered in homeowner’s policies but may be added through endorsements. Endorsements are added to insurance policies in order to provide additional coverage to the homeowner’s policy. OCI encourages consumers to carefully review all endorsements before they are added to a policy.

During Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week, Commissioner Nickel encourages consumers to work with their insurance agent to ensure their level of protection will result in adequate financial protection from losses resulting from severe storms and the coverage in place is suitable for the risks they face.

Commissioner Nickel suggests the following steps if your home is damaged by a storm:

  • Notify your insurance agent or insurance company as soon as possible to begin the insurance claim process.
  • Take photographs of the damage for the insurance company.
  • Separate damaged items from undamaged items.
  • Make any necessary repairs protecting yourself from further loss or damage as soon as it is safe.
  • Make a list of damaged items and keep all receipts that document the cost of the repairs or the replacement of damaged items.
  • Do not throw away furniture or expensive items damaged by the storm. Your insurance adjuster will want to see these.

Consumer publications such as Consumer’s Guide to Homeowner’s Insurance and Settling Property Insurance Claims are available on OCI’s Web site at oci.wi.gov and may also be ordered for free by calling 1-800-236-8517. More information on the National Flood Insurance Program may be found at fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program.


Created by the Legislature in 1870, Wisconsin’s Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) was vested with broad powers to ensure the insurance industry responsibly and adequately met the insurance needs of Wisconsin citizens. Today, OCI’s mission is to lead the way in informing and protecting the public and responding to its insurance needs.

Spring Start-Up: Tips For Getting Your Classic Back On The Road

For classic car owners in northern climes, the long wait for spring can be excruciating. The good news is, it’s almost here. The classic car experts at Hagerty® have put together the following spring start-up checklist. Take advantage of the time before spring blooms by prepping your car for its first drive. You’ll both be better for it.

Start with your battery. If it’s been on a trickle charger all winter, disconnect it from the charger and reconnect the battery. If you simply removed the battery and stored it in a warmer spot for the winter, time to charge it up.

Check your fluids. Start with a walk around and examine the floor beneath the car. Drips are common and expected; puddles are not. A fresh oil change is recommended since water or other fluids may have found their way in your crankcase. While you’re at it, replace the oil filter. Also check your other fluids – brakes, coolant, transmission, windshield washer. Do they look dirty? Are they at the recommended level? Smell your transmission fluid. If it smells burnt, change it. Generally speaking, if you can’t remember the last time you drained and flushed any particular fluid, it’s probably time to do it again. As for gasoline, your car should be good to go if you put STA-BIL in the gas tank before storing your car. If not, you might consider adding a water-absorbing product or – if you’re really worried about it – drain the tank.

Check your belts and hoses for cracks and decay. Since rubber breaks down over time, examine the condition of your tires. Make sure they’re inflated to the correct air pressure, and remember the spare.

In addition to potentially damaging your engine, water can cause brake problems as well. If your car has been sitting for a while, consider bleeding your brakes. They should feel firm when you push the pedal.

By this point, you should already know if any mice spent a comfortable winter in or around your engine. Also check inside the passenger compartment, especially under the seats and in the glove box. And one last thing – check the headlights, turn signals and brake lights. Yes, this requires a friend’s help.

It’s finally time to start your car. If you’re just testing the engine, make sure an exit door is open enough to allow exhaust fumes to escape. If the weather allows for a drive, make that first one fairly short – a half hour or so should put the car through its proper paces. And before you take drive No. 2, do the ol’ walk-around again. No major leaks? Tires look good? Let ’er rip, and have a great summer.

 

Written by: Hagerty Insurance March 17, 2017