’Tis the Season for Tornadoes

The United States has more tornadoes than any other country in the world, and late spring and early summer are prime season in Ohio. Tornadoes usually arrive between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. You can prepare so that if a tornado (or any other severe storm) hits, you can protect yourself and your family and minimize damage.

Listen and watch for storm updates: a tornado watch means a tornado is possible; a warning means a tornado has been seen and may be on its way to your neighborhood.

A tornado can also develop so quickly that you do not have time to hear a warning. Watch for the physical signs, such as dark, often greenish clouds; a wall cloud or cloud of debris; large hail; a roaring noise; or a funnel cloud.

Find safety immediately if a warning is sounded or you see storm signs. Go to a basement, center hallway, bathroom or closet on the lowest floor, away from glass and flying objects and in an uncluttered spot. In a tall building, find a place in a hallway in the center of the building. If you are outside, go quickly to the basement of a nearby sturdy building or lie flat in a ditch or low area. If you are in a vehicle, get out immediately and head for safety.

The Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness has an excellent website with tornado-safety tips, www.weathersafety.ohio.gov/. More information can also be found at www.redcross.org.

Homeowners Insurance Coverage  

Tornadoes and the thunderstorms and hail that accompany them can cause extreme damage to your property. Tornado losses are covered under your homeowners policy. Since these claims tend to be large, check with your agent to be sure you have adequate coverage. Notify the insurance agency of any additions or improvements to your home.

Be sure that your insurance coverage is written on a replacement-cost basis. Please keep in mind, however, that if you decide not to rebuild or to replace an item, your insurance company will probably take some depreciation. Videotape, photograph or compile a written inventory of your home and belongings, keep the list secure, and update your inventory regularly. This will help you communicate with your insurance company should you have to file a claim.

If you do experience a storm-related loss to your home that is covered by your insurance, notify your insurer soon, as required by your policy.

For more information—and your peace of mind—review your current coverage with your agent.

Gordon Wenner is a graduate of Bowling Green State University where he majored in insurance. He is past president of Summit County Independent Insurance Agents Association, the Fairlawn Area Chamber of Commerce and Fairlawn Country Club.

In business since 1975, Jones & Wenner is a large, diversified independent insurance agency in Fairlawn. Call 330-867-4434 with your insurance questions or visit www.jones-wenner.com.