March 22, 2012
Take Action Now, Prep House for Spring Storms
Nationwide offers tips for family, home, personal property
Columbus, Ohio - Homeowners should do what they can now to protect their home and property from the violent spring storms that are certain to roar through Ohio this year. A few precautions may ease some stress if and when that storm hits and you need help.
Nationwide Insurance is urging homeowners to observe Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week in Ohio, March 25 to March 31. Use the week to prepare an emergency kit, trim shrubs and trees, identify a safe place to take shelter when a spring storm hits and other precautions.
“We’ve learned a lot from our response to severe storms over the past few years. Taking some small steps now can go a long way toward preventing damage and helping you be more prepared if the unthinkable occurs,” said Pete Lore, leader of Nationwide’s National Catastrophe claims response team.
Ohio has been hit hard by spring storms. The high wind and hail storms of last May caused up to $400 million in damage, according to the Ohio Insurance Institute. That event ranks 3rd in the state for severe weather devastation. Number 1 is the Xenia tornadoes of 1974 followed by Hurricane Ike in 2008.
Nationwide managed 160,000 insurance claims resulting from the spring storms of 2011, compared to 130,000 total claims from the 2004 Florida hurricanes and Hurricane Katrina combined.
“Last year, our company paid out more than $1.3 billion to help our members rebuild from catastrophic weather events across the country,” said Mark Pizzi, President and Chief Operating Officer of Nationwide Insurance. “Homeowners can get in front of these storms and the damage they cause by being insurance savvy. Know what insurance coverage you have and get the coverage you need before disaster strikes. Your insurance agent can review your policy with you before you need it.”
These tips on damage prevention and homeowners insurance coverage are meant to help you make decisions that may reduce your risks. We don’t know every risk and cannot guarantee these will work for you, but some of them may help protect your most valuable assets – you and your family.
Things to consider doing outside your home to protect it from severe weather damage
- Keep trees and shrubs trimmed. Weak branches could fall on your home or your neighbor’s.
- Clear drains, gutters and downspouts of debris to prevent drains from breaking during heavy rains and water flooding into your home.
- Extend and re-direct the downspouts close to your home to move the water away.
- If storms are forecast, secure lawn furniture and other objects that could be moved by strong winds.
Things to consider doing inside your home to protect against flooding
- Install a sump pump with a battery backup system.
- If you have a sump pump, test it now.
- Caulk cracks on the interior where you may have seen water in the past.
- Store area rugs and carpeting on higher floors to reduce the chances of rugs getting wet and growing mold.
- Move furniture and electronics off the basement floor.
Safety tips for you and your family:
- Put together an emergency kit – flashlight, batteries, NOAA all-hazard radio, first aid supplies, air horn, basic tools, extra car keys, extra eyeglasses.
- Identify a safe place to go in a storm. Share that with everyone in the house.
Protect your personal property
- Inventory your valuables, including approximate value and date purchased. Pictures or videos are great. Go to www.KnowYourStuff.org for more information and download free software.
- Store mortgage and other important papers in a safe deposit or fire safe box – and do not store the box t on your basement floor.
- Add your insurance company’s claims number to Contacts on your cellphone.
- Read and understand your homeowner and auto insurance policies, especially your deductibles. Talk to an agent to make sure you have the appropriate amount of insurance coverage to protect what matters most to you.
- Consider buying flood insurance. Most homeowner insurance policies don’t cover flooding. Specialized flood coverage through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program is available to most homeowners. Many local insurance agents can help you acquire flood insurance. Make sure to consider buying flood insurance coverage before the heavy flooding season because in most cases the policies take effect 30 days after purchase. You can visit www.floodsmart.gov to learn more.
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. The company provides customers a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto insurance, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, pet, life insurance, farm, commercial insurance, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and specialty health services. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.