Is That Covered by Home Insurance? 5 Surprising Facts

Home insurance policies are designed to protect your personal property and provide reimbursement in the event of damage or loss. Yet, when a claim is filed, many people are surprised to find certain items are excluded from coverage. Likewise, some individuals miss the opportunity to file a claim, not realizing they have experienced a covered loss. Below are five areas that tend to cause confusion in the world of home insurance. Do you know which ones are covered by your current policy? (Hint: Ask your insurance agent if you aren't sure.)
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California Fires Call for Multiple Evacuations

Blazing California fires near San Diego and the surrounding communities threatened the homes of scores of locals last week. One of the largest fires, near California State University, San Marcos is suspected to have been started by arson. High winds and low humidity along with blistering temperatures helped fuel these fires. On Friday, May 16, CNN reported that six major fires were threatening the San Diego area, including the cities of San Marcos and Escondido along with the military base at Camp Pendleton.
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Posted in News and Catastrophe

It's Wildfire Season: Are You at Risk?

Imagine losing everything you own, including all of the contents of your home, to a fire. In addition to the tens of thousands of dollars in damage (or more), survivors of catastrophic fires lose more than just property; they lose difficult-to-replace keepsakes such as family heirlooms or photo albums. For many states, especially in the southwestern and western United States, the chances of catastrophic loss by fire are increased due to wildfires. In fact, a wildfire broke out on May 5th in Oklahoma near the town of Guthrie and evacuations were ordered for 1,000 locals. Other areas of Oklahoma have suffered wildfires in the past week with one fire raging across Harper and Woodward counties.
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Posted in News and Catastrophe

Severe Weather Alert: Are You Ready for Tornadoes, Floods?

From the recent tornadoes in Arkansas and Oklahoma, to the flood warnings issued for the New England states to Florida this weekend, Severe Weather Awareness Week kickstarted some of Mother Nature's most damaging acts. This week's storm system left the South ravaged, citizens killed and several others injured on Monday. Tornadoes and high winds leveled homes and damaged everything vehicles to schools. The system moved to the East coast on Wednesday saturating the area with 11-inches of rain near Pensacola, Florida and Mobile, Alabama causing flash floods.
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Tornado Outbreak in Southern States Drives Home the Importance of Emergency Preparedness

A chain of deadly thunderstorms that spawned dozens of tornadoes across the southern United States has devastated communities throughout Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. This outbreak of catastrophic weather began last weekend in central Arkansas and continues to concern many as the tornadoes head northeast. At the height of tornado season, these storms demolished numerous homes and businesses and serve as a reminder of the importance of emergency preparedness. Emergency workers and volunteers are working tirelessly to find survivors and missing persons.
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Posted in News and Catastrophe

Higher Tornado Risks for South, Midwest and Plains States

Most of us have heard the old adage "April showers bring May flowers." While this is true for many people throughout the United States, spring and early summer is also known as Tornado Season because there is a heightened risk for tornado activity throughout the south, Midwest, and plains states. According to Paul Martin, CPCU, "tornadoes are the most feared and most fascinating of weather events. They attack so unpredictably and with such speed and ferocity, that many are caught gawking, completely exposed or unprepared." In recent years, tornadoes have inflicted billions of dollars in property damage and injured thousands of people in Joplin, Missouri and Moore, Oklahoma.
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Mt. St. Helens: Is It Going to Blow?

Volcanoes are cracks and holes in the surface of the earth, created by debris, gases, and molten rock that escape from the earth's center. Most of the world's 1900 active volcanoes are located around the Ring of Fire, a long circle of vents located on the Pacific Rim. On an average day, the volcanic mounds lie quiet, while gases and lava steam deep inside. But when tectonic plates shift, the gases can erupt suddenly, spraying hardened lava and stone hundreds of miles, causing sudden snow melts and mudslides, and polluting the air with acidic ash. The mudslides and lava flows can burn and bury entire towns. Breathing the ash can cause severe lung problems, especially for children and the elderly. According to National Geographic, "Scientists estimate that more than 260,000 people have died in the past 300 years from volcanic eruptions and their aftermath."
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How Are Hurricanes Named?

If you have ever watched an episode of the Hurricane Chasers show, you may have heard phrases like “And look at that, Alberto just took down a house.” You may be wondering: Why did they name this hurricane Alberto? Or Roxanne? Or Rita? Shouldn’t these destructive acts of nature be given names like the Hulk or Hellbringer? Hurricane naming has gone through some twists and turns over the years to get to where we are today.
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Hurricane Checklist: 5 Ways to Prepare for an Incoming Hurricane

The end of summer signals hurricane season. And, if Hurricane Sandy has taught Americans one thing, it’s that you can never be too sure that you’re safely out of a hurricane’s path. Sandy affected 24 states, raging across the Eastern Seaboard and beyond the Appalachians, as far West as Wisconsin. If you live on the East Coast you can’t afford to lay back and hope for the best, unless you can afford to risk losing your home, your possessions, or worse. A little pre-planning might help you and your family weather the storm - and these tips can show you how to get ready when a hurricane strikes.
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Top 10 Most Expensive Disasters in U.S. History

Improvements in early warning systems over the last few decades have saved hundreds of thousands of lives. We can now predict events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and blizzards with incredible accuracy, hours or days before disaster strikes. But no matter how advanced our technology becomes, we still lack the power to prevent bad weather from wreaking havoc on our businesses and homes. These are the top ten most costly disasters of U.S. history. They took lives, leveled homes, and caused billions of dollars in damages. The dollar amounts in the following statistics have been adjusted for inflation, and reflect 2012 equivalents.
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What Is a Flood Zone?

People love to be near the water. Whether it’s a river, lake, or the sea, a body of water makes for a beautiful landscape and many fun activities. Unfortunately, these bodies of water can also cause flooding. Flooding can happen at any time no matter where you live, so it is important to get educated about floods and flood zones. Read on to learn more about these natural disasters and your risk.
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