Natural Disasters – Homeowners Insurance Tips and News Fri, 28 Jun 2013 15:01:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Hurricane Preparations and Insurance Advice Mon, 16 Jul 2012 19:04:30 +0000 Hurricanes are powerful and often deadly storms whose strong winds and heavy rains can wreak havoc on businesses and homes. In the event of an impending hurricane, it is essential to prepare for days or even weeks without power or access to fresh food and water. Homeowners may also consider investing in insurance coverage to protect against losses caused by these terrifying storms.

Preparing an Emergency Kit
The most important element of an emergency kit is a minimum three day supply of both food and water. A flashlight with extra batteries and a first aid kit are crucial items as well. The Ready website provides a comprehensive list of necessary items, as well as additional emergency supplies, required for a first aid kit and supplies for those with special needs such as infants or the elderly. The Weather Channel and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) blog also offer advice on hurricane preparedness. Hurricanes arrive with several days of advance warning; these preparations should be made as soon as possible.

Evacuation Plan
Before evacuating, it is important to secure your house against the storm. Cover all of the windows with permanent storm shutters, or board them up with 5/8” marine plywood. Install straps or additional clips to fasten the roof to the frame structure in order to reduce roof damage. Trim any trees and shrubs around the home to increase wind resistance, and clear loose or congested rain gutters. Reinforce garage doors, as wind entering a garage can cause dangerous structural damage. Finally, bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and any other loose items. Close and lock doors and windows, and unplug electrical equipment and appliances. Additional suggestions can be found on the Ready website as well as The Weather Channel.

In the event that an evacuation becomes necessary, local officials will provide information to media outlets. Other warning methods such as sirens or telephone calls may be used as well. Some people simply choose to evacuate on their own when they feel threatened. Make sure the car to be used for evacuation has a full tank of gas, as gas stations may be closed or unable to pump gas during power outages. Most importantly, follow recommended evacuation routes. Shortcuts may be blocked or flooded, or there may be downed power lines and always be sure to designate a meeting spot in the event of a separation.

Further evacuation guidelines are provided by FEMA on their website.

Keeping Current on the Weather
During a severe storm like a hurricane, having up-to-date weather information is critical. The National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center tracks all developing storms and issues advisories; it also provides links to hurricane preparation. AccuWeather’s Hurricane Center is another source for information on current and developing storms as well as general facts about hurricanes. The Weather Channel’s Hurricane Central is an additional resource for current weather and storm preparedness.

Hurricane Insurance
Flood damage is one of the most common results of a hurricane, but it is not covered unless additional flood insurance, offered by the National Flood Insurance Program, is purchased. SmartMoney reports that flood insurance costs an average of $600 annually, while homeowners living on high-risk coastlines can expect to pay almost $6,000. Homeowner policies do pay for wind damage, including broken windows, torn roofs and interior damage from water falling into the home, as well as tree limbs or entire trees blown onto a home, garage or shed. Tree removal is typically covered up to $500.

Traditional insurance policies often do not cover the damage caused by hurricanes; as a result, 18 coastal states have allowed hurricane deductibles to be incorporated into homeowner policies, according to Insurance Information Institute. However, residents will have to pay a costly deductible, as high as 1% to 5% of the total amount the home is insured for, before the insurance policy takes effect. Some states allow policyholders to pay a higher premium in return for a traditional dollar deductible, depending on how close to the coast their home is located. On an encouraging note, most standard homeowner policies will pay for a family’s living expenses, including food and housing, while the home is being restored.

Preparing for a hurricane can be stressful; however, failing to do so could be the cause of even more stress. Remember, the earlier these precautions are taken, the better.

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When Natural Disasters Strike: A Close Look at Disaster Insurance Coverage Mon, 16 Jul 2012 14:08:09 +0000 Coloradans have paid a hefty price in recent months for living amidst the scenic beauty of the Rockies. Some of its most precious features – including the trees, hillsides, and mountains of the Pike National Forest – along with almost 350 homes were razed by the Waldo Canyon Fire. Officially 100% contained on July 10, it raged for almost three weeks over 18,247 acres, forcing 32,000 residents to evacuate.

At the its worst point, 30,000 residents were under mandatory evacuation orders, during which they left behind their homes, not knowing whether or not their most valuable assets would be waiting for them once they return. Those fears were compounded by the threat of looting, which added insult to injury for residents who were temporarily uprooted. Thirty-seven homes and 28 vehicles were broken into by opportunistic thieves, who snatched thousands upon thousands of dollars of stolen possessions.

If you live in the South, where Hurricane season looms for six months each year, the Midwest, where Tornadoes can uproot a town in an instant, or out West, where wildfires can scorch hundreds of thousands of acres at a time, then you’re all too familiar with the destructiveness and mercilessness of Mother Nature. John Shelby Spong said it best: “Mother Nature is not sweet.”

At lot of things in life are unavoidable. But it’s how we prepare for those events that enables us to weather them. Enter disaster insurance coverage, the one thing that stands between us and the personal disaster that often arises from wildfires, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and tornadoes.

The Very Real Threat of a Natural Disaster

Each year, FEMA releases the number of major disaster declarations that have occurred in the U.S. In 2011 the agency tallied 99, 18 more than the previous year, a record. According to the Insurance Information Institute, it was the second costliest year in insured losses from natural disasters. President Robert Hartwig summarized the financial toll in a statement released by the III.

“Catastrophes striking the United States in the first nine months of 2011 caused $32.6 billion in direct insured losses, nearly double the $18.6 billion in catastrophe-caused direct insured losses insurers generally incur over the first nine months of any given year.”

The period of high activity from January to September included the barrage of tornadoes that struck the Midwest and Southeast, the most infamous of which was the EF-5 that hit Joplin, Missouri, resulting in 158 deaths.

“The $32.6 billion figure doesn’t even include the significant insured losses which arose after the pre-Halloween snowstorm, which caused enormous damage to multiple states along the Atlantic seaboard,” Hartwig said in the statement. “Coupled with other events in 2011’s fourth quarter, direct insured losses could exceed $35 billion this year.”

Twelve different climate disasters occurred in the U.S. in 2011, the most since 2008, combining for a damage total of $52 billion in insured and uninsured losses, the III reported. One of those was Hurricane Irene, a Category 1 storm that swept through the Northeast. More than 900,000 properties suffered an estimated $59 billion-worth of flood-related damages, according to UPI.

Many homes were located outside designated FEMA hazard flood zones, meaning they weren’t required to be covered with flood insurance. Among those who faced the most risk during the storm due to the surge: the 63% of homes outside the flood zone in Virginia Beach, a statistic cited in the article from CoreLogic. Of course, floods can only be covered with flood insurance, as a standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover floods and earthquakes.

Suffering major property loss caused by a natural disaster can spell the financial ruin of many uninsured Americans. Each year, countless people lose their homes and their valuable possessions, which have taken years to collect, and have no means to replace them. Because of their unpreparedness, picking up the pieces takes years.

The Necessity of Homeowners Insurance

Living though a natural disaster can be traumatic, but it’s the aftermath that determines its lasting impact. The recent upward trajectory in natural disasters and the resulting costs has forced many homeowners to come to terms with the reality that they could be next. The protection offered by homeowners insurance, a necessity for all homeowners, may cover you in the event your home is damaged by a tornado or wildfire.

Homeowners insurance encompasses the physical structure of the home and its contents. This affords you protection against the common perils, such as fire, smoke, vandalism, theft, riots or looting, and lightning strikes. If a storm blows a tree through your roof, then your insurance should ensure that it’s fixed and the items within your home that were damaged are replaced. It also covers medical payments and possible legal fees if someone on your property is injured. You can get additional coverage by upgrading to a larger policy that includes more perils.

Most lenders require borrowers to have a homeowners insurance policy to protect their investment. However, even the most generous policies exclude damage from floods and earthquakes. What’s more, some don’t provide adequate protection against hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires. Review your policy to familiarize yourself with the details. Many homeowners buy extra coverage to ensure all bases are covered.

Types of Individual Disaster Insurance Policies

If you’re looking to add a disaster insurance policy to your homeowners insurance coverage, then you should consider your biggest vulnerabilities. Do you live in a high-risk area for hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes or wildfires? Even if you don’t live an area that’s traditionally considered high-risk, are you completely immune to the threat?

  • Flood Coverage: Your homeowners policy covers water damage sustained within the home, such as from a burst pipe, but it does not cover floods. Floods are defined by insurance companies as water that rises from the ground – from heavy rains or storm surge – and rapidly melting snow. Homeowners in high-risk areas are often required by their lenders to purchase flood insurance. Those policies are generally more expensive than policies in low-risk areas. You can learn more about flood insurance by visiting the National Flood Insurance Program website.
  • Hurricane Coverage: Although flooding is the most destructive outcome of hurricanes, you can purchase hurricane insurance separate from flood insurance. It’s designed to cover all the risks brought forth by hurricanes, including floods and high winds. The combination of a good homeowners and flood policy, however, will protect you against damage from water and debris.
  • Earthquake Coverage: As with flood insurance, earthquake insurance must be purchased separately from your homeowners policy. According to the III, 90% of Americans live in seismically active areas, so even if you’ve never experienced an earthquake in your life, you’re probably not insusceptible to experiencing one in the future. With an earthquake insurance policy, coverage includes the cost of repairing or replacing your damaged property, including accessory structures such as your garage, the contents of your property, and your living expenses after the disaster occurs.
  • Tornado Coverage: The Insurance Services Office reports that tornadoes and severe thunderstorms caused the highest amount of insured losses from natural disasters in the country in 2010. If your homeowners policy covers the damage from high winds and debris that accompanies powerful tornadoes, then tornado insurance may be superfluous. Again, it depends on the details of the policy.


Coverage Considerations

If you’re insured, the worst thing that can happen to you is finding out you’re underinsured – after a natural disaster strikes. A study released in 2009 by the research firm Marshall & Swift found that 64% of homes in the U.S. are “undervalued for insurance purposes” and “the average homeowner has enough insurance to rebuild only about 81% of his or her dwelling.” The remainder of the cost of damage has to be covered out-of-pocket by the owner. If your entire home has been destroyed, then rebuilding it to its previous state may not be financially feasible.

A common misconception by homeowners is that the amount of insurance they buy should reflect the real estate value of the home, when, in fact, it should cover the cost of rebuilding. Homeowners should get periodical cost estimates to ensure their policy is valued correctly so that, in the event of a disaster, their home is rebuilt entirely and all their belongings are replaced.

Additional levels of coverage beyond replacement cost are extended replacement cost and guaranteed replacement cost. The advantage of the former is that it accounts for inflation, as the insurer pays more than the replacement cost. The latter covers the entire cost of your home irrespective of price fluctuations that have occurred since the inception of the policy. You pay a higher premium, but you won’t have to get periodical cost estimates.

When taking out an insurance policy or reassessing an old one, keep these things in mind:

  • If you’ve spent several thousand dollars remodeling your home, thus increasing its overall value, you should get a cost estimate as soon as possible. It’s generally advised that homeowners do this immediately after the work is performed.
  • Account for every structure on your property, such as a garage or storage shed. These essential components to your home are often overlooked by homeowners.
  • Take a thorough inventory of all your valuable belongings by taking photos and getting them appraised. Keep your recordings somewhere secure – not inside your home – such as in a safe deposit box.
  • Do not choose an insurance company merely because it’s cheap. You’ll get what you pay for. Price matters, but you should pay close attention to consumer ratings as well.
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Category 5 Preparedness Fri, 01 Jun 2012 19:56:58 +0000 Hurricane season is just upon us and if the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that hurricanes can cause serious damage if you are not prepared for them. The best way to prevent serious damage to your home or loss of life or danger to your family is to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safest, securest environment possible prior to a hurricane’s arrival.

Checklist and Family Plan

The American Red Cross posted a checklist of things to do and collect in preparation for a hurricane. Among the items listed is a reminder to take care of all things loose: doors, windows, shutters, and items on the lawn (like tools, bikes, toys, etc).

It is also important to stock up on things like canned goods, bottled water, and gasoline. The Red Cross also suggests turning the fridge and freezer to the highest settings to keep food cold longer in the event that the power goes out.

One of the most important ways your family can be prepared for an emergency such as a hurricane is to sit down and write up a plan or strategy for evacuation. Make sure each member of the family or house clearly understands the plan and practices acting it out. Locate the safest room in the house and keep a supply of new batteries and at least one flashlight in the room along with a battery powered radio.

Emergency Kit

Keeping an emergency kit stocked and located in an easy-to-reach location is one preparation that is often overlooked. Along with the basic first-aid components, you will want to include spare batteries, a multipurpose tool, hand sanitizer, extra house and car keys, bug spray, a map of the immediate area, disposable camera (in case of photographing damage), and a list of emergency contact numbers.

For stocking food and water, keep at least three days’ worth in a safe location. There should be a minimum of one gallon of water per person for each day and the food should be easy to prepare (minimal or no cooking needed) and non-perishable. Canned soups and stews are a great commodity and can be used for both lunch and dinner.


In the case of any impending emergency, always tune into the radio for updates and warnings on the status of an incoming storm or risk of any other natural disaster. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is the highest rated weather service in terms of accuracy and timely updates. They offer weather updates online, via podcasts, and on the radio at seven different frequencies via the NOAA Weather Radio (NWR).

When listening to weather updates and warnings, it’s important to note the difference between a “hurricane watch” and a “hurricane warning.” A watch means that conditions will be threatening within 48 hours. When you hear this update, begin your preparation plans immediately and stay tuned to the radio for more information regarding the storm.

A hurricane warning is issued when the conditions are expected within 36 hours. If evacuations are being called for in your area, this is the point in which you will want to leave. Otherwise, finish up your preparations and retreat to the safe zone in the house. Keep the radio with you to stay posted on further storm conditions.

Disaster Relief

Supposing you evacuate your house out of necessity and return to find the area ravaged by the storm, you will want to contact a hurricane relief center as soon as possible to report the damage. But first, check with your insurance company to see how much they cover. Since many insurance policies exclude flood damage, that might be something with which FEMA or another disaster relief group could assist. For a full list of relief groups, check out

If you have evacuated the area and intend to return, there are a couple things you should be aware of before you travel. For one thing, check the route back home for flooding or damage. Planning detours in advance can save a lot of drive time and gas. Pay close attention to bridges or low areas as these are the most common areas for flooding.

Power lines and trees are notoriously found on the road following severe storms so use caution and drive slower where visibility is limited. Upon returning to your house, check for leaking gas pipes and structural damage before entering. Take photos of any damage for insurance and relief purposes.

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Is Mother Nature Turning on Us: A Look at Recent Natural Disasters Mon, 30 Apr 2012 20:46:46 +0000 There are many people who believe that the world will soon be coming to an end and that all of the natural disasters that have been occurring are among the first signs. Whether you believe this idea or not is up to you; however, it is hard to deny the fact that Mother Nature seems to be a little mad lately. It seems that every day when we turn on the news we are listening to a new report of hundreds to thousands of people losing everything they love in a disaster. Maybe we can all learn from these stories and prepare ourselves better in the future.


Tornadoes in the States

Though we can all agree that there have been a lot of natural disasters across the United States, one main problem that has been hitting hard recently are tornadoes. It seems that nobody is safe anymore and the Midwest and some southern states are among the most recent victims. In early March a series of deadly tornadoes ripped through 10 states. It is estimated that 32 people were killed throughout the storms in Mississippi, Tennessee, Illinois, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. This storm is one of the country’s largest ever recorded to date. The storms brought about more than 95 reported tornadoes and hundreds of reports of severe weather. The good news in this storm is that weather officials were able to get warnings out in time for people to hunker down.


Earthquake In Japan

Everyone probably remembers the images of the tsunami that hit Japan over a year ago. The destruction that was left from the earthquake and following tsunami was absolutely devastating. If you turned on your TV in early March, then you probably thought that you were hearing flashbacks about that devastation. Unfortunately, what we were really seeing was information about a series of earthquakes that had just hit the country. After their experience the year before, emergency orders were immediately in effect. Thanks to the emergency orders, there were no deaths reported and no damage to the nuclear plants that were harmed the year before. Luckily the country was able to return to normal. After the quakes, the country got together to mourn the deaths of more than 19,000 people who died from the quake and tsunami the year before.


Mudslides in Haiti

For most people, rain is a good thing, but what happens when there is too much? Residents of Haiti recently found that too much rain can lead to mudslides and floods. If you remember, Haiti was hit with one of the most devastating earthquakes in history about two years ago. Now as they continue to rebuild, more devastation has hit the country again. The storms also brought lots of trouble to Hispaniola and the Dominican Republic. The storms come at a hard time for Haitian residents, as more than 500,000 people are still without homes after the earthquake. In the region it is estimated that the storms have caused the deaths of nine people and caused thousands to flee their homes.


Wind Storm in Turkey

When you think of a wind storm, what comes to mind? It is easy for us to picture items blowing over or lots of debris flying in the air. Recently, a freak windstorm hit Turkey and it is reported that winds reached speeds of 62 mph. Authorities were able to close bridges and flights to ensure safety. It is estimated that five people died in the storm and that more than 300 buildings were damaged. However, one of the strangest stories is about a yacht catching fire because of the wind. As the boat was sailing, it got caught in the storm and the wind blew flames onto the boat. Luckily 10 people were rescued from the vessel.


Floods in Saudi Arabia

What do you do if storms in your area have caused massive flooding and it is estimated that the force of the flood may be as heavy as 20 tons? You should probably stay away, and that is exactly what residents of Saudi Arabia recently had to do. Massive storms hit the area and caused heavy flooding throughout the country. It is estimated that more than 18 people have been killed in the floods, and until the storm dies down, there will be no rescue options that are allowed to take place for safety reasons.

If there is any lesson to be learned here, it is that you cannot run from Mother Nature. It is always important when you live in storm areas to take extra precautions and listen to any emergency information that is provided to you. These things can happen anywhere on Earth and all we can do is prepare.

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40 Posts Discussing How to Recover After Being Victim of Natural Disaster Wed, 03 Nov 2010 11:26:36 +0000

The key to surviving a natural disaster is greatly dependent on preplanning before the disaster strikes.  What happens when you realize that you’ve just survived a natural disaster?  Recovery can often be as devastating as the disaster itself. Good homeowners insurance will help you take care of damage to your home, but there are still many other obstacles to deal with, especially the emotional trauma that can occur from dealing with a disaster of any type.

  1. Disaster Information Center (preparedness, recovery) –
    Being prepared for a disaster is the best way to minimize losses and recovery time.
  2. Tips on What to Do After Surviving a Natural Disaster
    Since September 11, 2001, much has changed in our world, nation, state and community. We have become much more aware of the devastation that can be caused by unexpected disasters—whether they are caused by nature, by accident or by terrorist attacks.
  3. Surviving A Natural Disaster
    Natural disasters can happen anywhere, and they often come out of the blue. But proactive preparedness and a clearheaded response will help mitigate the negative effects.
  4. How To Survive the Next Disaster
    When a large disaster (terrorist attack, earthquake, tornado, etc.) strikes, many of the necessities of life are suddenly gone – instantly gone.
  5. What to Do After a NATURAL DISASTER – Brief Article
    The following advice from the Institute of Certified Financial Planners, Denver, Colo., can help you minimize the financial impact of future disasters:
  6. Helping Children After a Natural Disaster: Information for Parents and Teachers
    Natural disasters can be especially traumatic for children and youth. Experiencing a dangerous or violent disaster is frightening even for adults, and the devastation to the familiar can be long lasting and distressing.
  7. How can I Help in a Natural Disaster?
    Many people want to offer help in a natural disaster, whether by donating money, transporting supplies, giving blood, or volunteering to go into affected areas and offer physical assistance. Unfortunately, there are times when well-meaning people get in the way more than they help in a natural disaster.
  8. Natural Disaster Preparations
    Emergencies and disasters can occur anytime, anywhere. Some are primarily seasonal and allow for certain preparations; others occur swiftly and without warning.
  9. Prevent Illness After a Disaster
    Fact Sheet from CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response
  10. How To Recover From A Natural Disaster
    Natural disaster is a great leveler. It spares nobody and that includes businesses, both small and big.
  11. Can Your Family Survive a Natural Disaster?
    No one thinks it will happen to them, but if it happens to you and your family, do you know how to survive?
  12. Diabetic Tips For Surviving a Natural Disaster
    When natural disasters hit, the threat of being cut off from society and therefore medical supplies is a frightening thought.
  13. Natural Disasters and Catastrophes
    Natural disasters cause widespread damage and create a large volume of insurance claims for damage to homes, businesses, cars and other property.
  14. In the Path of a Hurricane: Surviving Mother Nature’s Wrath
    Although it’s almost impossible to predict the damage from a natural disaster, planning helps counter the aftermath, experts say.
  15. LDS Emergency Preparedness: Natural Disasters
    You could use these links to make handouts for classes, find tips for a Emergency Preparedness corner of a Relief Society Newsletter, collect several for a ward preparedness binder, or print them out for your files.
  16. Survive and Thrive after a Natural Disaster
    Natural disasters, like so many things in life, are unpredictable — yet the grief that may result often follows a pattern, says Kristi Cooper, Iowa State University Extension family life field specialist.
  17. How to Survive Natural Disasters
    If there was a natural disaster in my home, would I know what to do? Would I have all of the necessary supplies to ride it out until help arrived?
  18. How To: Survive A Natural Disaster
    Natural disasters will occur on occasion, so I’m here to help you protect your home. True, sometimes you can’t predict or stop nature’s deadly course, but there are measures you can take to protect your home and yourself.
  19. How to Survive a Natural Disasater
    Surviving a natural disaster involves more than just getting through the event. The most important thing is to be prepared to survive the aftermath of the catastrophe.
  20. How to Survive Natural Disasters
    I have compiled some basic information on what to do when severe weather or forces of nature are heading your way. Check it out.
  21. How to Survive Natural Disasters, Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Floods and Etc
    There’s hardly a home in the world that truly safe from some type of disaster. But good news, commonsense precautions go a long way in avoiding loss of property and life. I really hope that this article will help us get prepared!
  22. After a Natural Disaster: Coping with Loss
    Understanding the stages of grief, giving into them, and going through them, is key to getting past the disaster and into a fulfilling future.
  23. Extra Emergency Survival Kit Necessities
    How to survive a natural disaster with a camping vacation mindset.  Anyone who has ever been evacuated from, or isolated in, the family home because of a natural disaster, can attest to just how difficult it can be. But there are ways to alleviate some of the troubling aspects of the experience.
  24. Natural Disaster Survival Guide & After Disaster Tips
    It is essential that you get back on your feet and up and running as quickly as possible, so you can get money flowing into your small business.
  25. How to Recover From a Natural Disaster
    The winds have died down, the rain or snow has ended and the earth has stopped shaking. You look around at the mess around you and you think: now what?
  26. How do I Recover Communications After a Natural Disaster?
    Natural disasters can rob businesses of productivity and profits, if not prepared for in advance.
  27. Important Guidelines to Recover from a Natural Disaster
    Going through a natural disaster is an experience that no one should face. Unfortunately, Mother Nature has her own plans and all we can do is learn how to recuperate from a catastrophic event like this.
  28. After disaster strikes, how businesses recover.
    The unimaginable has occurred. Your business has been destroyed or heavily damaged. The disaster could be natural or technological: fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, a power outage, e-mail virus, equipment failure or data loss.
  29. How To Survive a Natural Disaster
    To protect ourselves from natural disaster, we should be equipped with adequate information regarding safety tips, precaution tips, methods to combat, emergency kits to survive, tips to protect your self and your family members, etc.
  30. Life and Credit – Recovering from Natural Disasters
    No matter how well you plan and manage your finances, a natural disaster can take you off track at a moment’s notice.
  31. Surviving Natural Disasters
    Survival in an outdoor environment will be precarious and a test of your resilience and character at the best of times.
  32. 49 Articles About Weather Proofing Your Home Against Disaster
    Weatherizing a home is an important step in attempting to prevent damage done by a natural disaster.
  33. EPA: Natural Events and Disasters
    Every year natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquakes, and tornadoes, challenge agricultural production.
  34. Recovery Tips For Hurricane-Battered Homeowners
    If you were in the path of a hurricane, the damage that the winds and water left behind can seem impossible to fix. Getting back to normal will take some time and effort, but there are plenty of people around to help.
  35. How to Survive a Famine
    Severe Weather, Natural Disaster, and Nuclear Attack can Bring on Mass Starvation – Be Prepared
    Welcome to the Common Sense Survival Guides home page. This site is created by Albert Sindlinger. We are a site that makes survival and preparedness information available to the people.
  37. Family Home Security: Natural Disasters
    How to Make a Disaster Recovery Plan With Your Family. When an emergency occurs, it’s natural to feel scared, disoriented and panicked.
  38. American Red Cross Preparedness Fast Facts
    Get the facts you need — before, during, and after a disaster or emergency situation. As the nation’s preeminent preparedness and safety training organization, the American Red Cross developed the following emergency-specific checklists using the latest research, science, best practices and expert opinion.
  39. Surviving a Natural Disaster
    When natural disasters happen (or acts of God), they usually happen when we expect them the least.
  40. The Survivors Club Guide to Financially Surviving a Natural Disaster
    Learn How to Financially Prepare for a Natural Disaster with These Tips from The Survivors Club.

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Forced Flood Insurance Fri, 15 Oct 2010 21:43:14 +0000

Until hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood insurance program was fully self-funded through private flood insurance contributions for decades. But Katrina caused so much damage from flooding that FEMA is now billions of dollars in debt. It has recently sought to protect itself from disproportionate payouts by reevaluating the nation’s flood zones, and the new maps are forcing many to buy flood insurance who never have before.

Flood insurance is not like homeowners insurance. For one thing, it doesn’t cover all of your valuables in the event of a loss. By law, any home that resides in a Special Flood Hazard Area must have flood insurance to protect against financial losses. The price tag will depend on where you live, the level of risk that flooding will occur, and the value of the home itself.

  • Your lender can force you to purchase flood insurance. In fact, depending on where you live, your lender may not have a choice but to require it.
  • FEMA has undertaken a massive effort to modernize flood zone maps. This has resulted in many homeowners who’ve lived in the same place for years suddenly finding themselves in a flood zone.
  • Flood insurance may cost several hundred up to a few thousand dollars per year, depending on your risk and the value of your property.
  • Just because your home hasn’t flooded since you’ve lived there, or even in the past 20 years or more doesn’t mean it can’t flood in the future. Consider how long New Orleans was thriving before floods washed away major chunks of the city.
  • FEMA has a process in place that allows you to dispute the decision which placed your home in a flood zone.
  • You can also hire an independent surveyor to determine the likelihood of flooding on your property. The service may cost you several hundred dollars, but it could save you more in flood insurance premiums over the years if you are proved correct.

No one is perfect, and mistakes are sometimes made. After all, keeping track of every river, lake, stream, and pond across the United States is no small job. Land and water features change over the years, and maps can easily become out of date. If you believe you’re being forced into buying flood insurance when you shouldn’t need it, with a little bit of research you may be able to refute their assessment.

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What Happens After You File a Claim Wed, 06 Oct 2010 15:48:57 +0000

You may be apprehensive to file a claim on your homeowners insurance policy, and rightly so. Filing a claim can increase your monthly premiums, and your property may be added to a database used by insurance companies to track homes with a history of claims. This could make it harder to sell your home or renew your policy in the future, depending on the size and nature of previous claims.

If you do file a claim, however, you’ll need to know what to expect. In the insurance world, there are simple claims and not-so-simple claims.

  • For simple claims such as storm damage, window breakage, and some types of theft, your insurance claims adjuster will contact you by phone. You will probably need to get an estimate of the damage, which could entail hiring a contractor or providing appraisal documents for jewelry. The company will then mail you a check, often without coming out to the house to inspect the damage in person.
  • For more complicated claims, such as vandalism, water damage, and fire, the insurance adjuster will more than likely schedule a time to come out and review the damage themselves. They will take photos to support your claim, and help you fill out the necessary paperwork.
  • Some insurers require you to use only approved contractors for appraisals and estimates. While you will have your choice of vendors, they must carry certain certifications that help to ensure their work is quality and they aren’t shady dealers.
  • The process can take several weeks to many months, depending on the type of claim and the amount of damage. Water damage, for instance, can cause mold that poses a health risk to humans. This may require more lengthy inspections and extensive repairs, and can make it difficult to live in your home while work is being completed.
  • Whatever you do, don’t sit back and wait for your claim to be taken care of. Stay in touch with your claims adjuster, contractors, and repair specialists to make sure they aren’t waiting on more information from you or others. Facilitate the handling of paperwork to keep things moving along.

Filing a claim on your homeowner’s insurance policy can be a hassle. Before you file, be sure the financial rewards of doing so outweigh the costs.

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7 Worst Places to Buy Homeowners Insurance Mon, 20 Sep 2010 16:59:19 +0000

Some places are just more dangerous to live than other places. Whether because of natural disasters, or high crime rates, the homeowners insurance in some parts of the country are simply more expensive than in other, safer parts of the country. Below are some of the worst places as far as insuring your home is concerned:

  1. Southern California: Let’s face it; we’re all convinced it’s going to fall into the Pacific Ocean someday. Their regular earthquakes make sane people ask who would ever want to live on a known fault line anyway. On the other hand, mile upon mile or beaches and bikinis kind of answer that question for us.
  2. Kansas: In case you haven’t seen the Wizard of Oz, Kansas has a slight reputation for twisters. And given the flat conditions, when a tornado rips through Kansas, it can tear a lot of shit up in a hurry. Of course, this means that people who live in the area get to pay a little extra for homeowners insurance.
  3. Florida: The whole damned state is a hurricane waiting to happen. While there’s no doubt the climate is beautiful in the winter time, you can lose everything you own in a hurry.
  4. Iowa: Have you ever noticed how often this state endures flooding? The worst part is that most homeowners policies don’t even cover flood damage unless your policy specifically states that it does. Make sure you get homeowners insurance and flood coverage if you’re going to live in corn country.
  5. Detroit: As the population dwindles, and necessary cuts are made to police and fire protection, the city remains top of the charts in the United States for violent crimes. Detroit leads the way in a number of violent crimes, and breaking and entering and arson are common occurrences.
  6. The rest of Michigan: It may not be more dangerous than other states as far as damage to your home goes, but with the country’s worst economy, and a rating as the least friendly to businesses in the whole country ensuring that it stays that way, you’ll be lucky if you can afford homeowners insurance at any price.
  7. New Orleans: Who the hell had the bright idea of building a city below sea level in an area prone to hurricanes? Turns out, it was the French, who are probably laughing their asses off about it these days. In addition to the potential damage from hurricanes and flooding, New Orleans has the highest murder rate in the country. While murder doesn’t make your homeowners insurance premiums go up, it’ll sure ruin your day if you’re ever the victim.
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Danger Zones! Worldwide Deaths From Natural Disasters (INFOGRAPHIC) Mon, 12 Apr 2010 14:08:09 +0000 Danger Zones

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In this infographic has displayed the worldwide deaths from natural disasters from the years 1979 to 2008.

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Sinkholes Turn Homes to Money Pits Fri, 22 Jan 2010 17:20:10 +0000 sinkholeIn some places like central Florida, it’s amazing that anyone would choose to build a home. If you build a home in a swamp, it’s likely to eventually get swallowed up. Just ask the king of Swamp Castle. When it does, you could be facing a severe loss under a new Florida law that kicked in on January 1.

New Sinkhole Law

Under the new law, changes are coming to the way insurance companies can provide sinkhole insurance. The law is designed to help reduce the cost of homeowners insurance premiums for most Floridians, but it may wind up hurting those folks who happen to find their homes being swallowed up by the earth.

The new law lets private insurers change policies to drop portions of sinkhole coverage. This could ultimately cut premiums for residents of some sinkhole-prone areas. Their premium rates could drop by as much as half. The state-run insurance company, Citizens Insurance, has done this for more than a year now.

Why it Rocks

Proponents of the law point to the money that’s been saved in insurance premiums. It’s estimated that as much as $54 million has been saved in premiums. Unfortunately, it isn’t yet certain how many people have found themselves the victim of a sinkhole without any recourse.

Why it Sucks

Opponents of the law suggest that it’s actually harmful to homeowners. The law still requires policies to cover major catastrophic ground collapses, but it doesn’t force them to cover more minor issues caused by sinkholes such as settlement distress or cracking.

The Truth of the Matter

Consumers can keep the additional coverage at an additional cost. In addition, insurance companies are required to notify residents as to which kind of coverage was dropped. Advocates of the law point out that it doesn’t limit consumers in the type of coverage that they can buy, rather it helps consumers who don’t need sinkhole coverage by dropping their premiums, by a significant percentage in some cases.

If you live in an area prone to sinkholes, you might consider continuing the coverage. That way, if the unthinkable happens, you can rebuild. In some instances, you may be able to add a specific rider that will include sinkhole coverage, or at least certain types of damage to your home that can occur from sinkholes.

Photo via Foxtongue

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