Most people don't think of Arizona when mention is made of tornadoes and their destruction. However, the Grand Canyon state experiences a number of tornadoes each year, and many leave a path of destruction in their wake. Some are even deadly. Is your insurance policy sufficient to cover tornado damage? Many homeowners do not discover that their insurance lacked adequate coverage until after the twister has struck and the damage is done.
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Before you search for tornado insurance quotes, however, there are several factors to consider.
A History of Tornadoes in Arizona
According to the Tornado History Project:
- Since 1952, 233 tornadoes have touched ground in Arizona.
- During that time, three people have been killed in Arizona tornadoes and 147 people have been injured.
- The longest path of an Arizona tornado was more than 37 miles of destruction.
- The October 2010 Arizona tornado outbreak was the largest single-day tornado event in Arizona history, with eight tornadoes touching down.
- During that 2010 event, an unusually long-lived tornado remained on the ground for nearly an hour, ranking it as the longest tracked tornado in Arizona history. More than 100 houses and several businesses were damaged, including at least 21 houses that were destroyed. Massive tree damage was also reported, with thousands of trees snapped, and campers isolated as a result. An RV dealer was impacted, with many vehicles destroyed. Seven people were injured.
What is Arizona Tornado Insurance?
While weather events like floods or hurricanes require separate insurance endorsements or riders, tornadoes are usually covered under your traditional homeowners insurance policy. However, because of the potential for extensive damage resulting from tornadoes, homeowners are strongly advised to review their policy to make sure their coverage is sufficient if a tornado touchdown occurs.
If you rent your home or live in a condominium, you will want to be sure that you have renters or condo insurance to cover your property. While your landlord or condo association will have a policy in place to cover damages to the structure of your home, personal belongings kept inside are not covered under these policies.
To obtain coverage for tornado damage to your vehicle, you will need to have a comprehensive car or truck insurance policy in place. Liability and collision insurance will not provide you with reimbursements for potentially extensive repairs following a tornado.
How Can I Prepare for a Tornado in Arizona?
Aside from reviewing your insurance policies to be sure you carry enough protection, you can take the following steps in Arizona to prepare for the next tornado touch down:
- Prepare your Family: Discuss a plan and practice it. Create a list with contact information, insurance information, and in-case-of-emergency out of town contacts. Make sure everyone in the family knows where to go, what to take, and how to be safe if a tornado hits.Store important documents, just in case. Make copies of birth certificates, insurance information, and social security cards to bring with you if you need to evacuate. This will be valuable if you aren't able to return home immediately after the tornado.
- Prepare your house: Create an emergency kit. This should include water and food for at least 72 hours. Having a means of communication or information (radio, satellite phone, etc.) is also important to include. Any first aid supplies, clothes, and toiletries that you may need should be stored along with flashlights, batteries, etc.Build or designate a safe room. Rooms that can typically be used include basements, garages, or interior rooms on the first floor. The room should have no windows, be anchored to the ground to avoid uplift, and be strong enough to withstand any flying debris it may come in contact with. Be aware that water may accompany the storm, so be cautious when using below-ground rooms, as they may collect water.
- Stay alert: In the U.S., the best way to get information about severe weather is to get a NOAA weather radio. These can be purchased cheaply at most big box retailers and outdoor supply stores. If possible, find one with backup battery power and a tone-alert feature, which automatically notifies you when the National Weather Service issues a severe weather watch or warning for your area.
How Much Insurance Coverage is Enough for a Tornado?
Your Arizona homeowners insurance policy should cover you in the event your home is completely destroyed by a tornado. However, some policies only extend to the structure of your home itself, and may not cover damages to your garage or other outbuildings. Be sure your policy includes these structures as well to ensure you are covered in the event they are damaged by strong winds or falling debris from tornadoes.
Also, many homeowners insurance policies may cover the cost of damages to your home due to a falling tree, but some do not cover the costs to repair the damage to your lawn or to replace the tree itself. They may not even cover the costs for tree removal should a large Guajillo be damaged in a tornado. It is important to review your homeowners policy to find out what kind of compensation you should receive if trees are felled on your property during a tornado.
What Are My Insurance Policy Options?
For the contents of your home, most Arizona insurance providers will give you one of two options: actual cash value or replacement cost. The differences between the two can leave you struggling to recover after a tornado, or making swift repairs and replacements.
- Actual cash value reimbursement takes depreciation into account. If your 10-year-old stove and range is destroyed during a tornado, this type of insurance policy reimbursement will only pay you the cost to replace a 10-year old stove.
- Replacement cost reimbursement ignores depreciation. Your Arizona insurance company would reimburse you the cost it would take to purchase a brand new stove and range with comparable features as your old one.
What Deductible Should I Choose for Tornado Protection?
While a higher deductible on your homeowners or automobile insurance policy may result in lower quotes and premiums, you don't want to short yourself on the deductible. Should your home be completely destroyed or your car totalled, you will need to pay the entire deductible amount before your insurance reimbursement kicks in.
You want to be sure the deductible you choose is one that you could comfortably afford to pay should you need to file a claim for tornado damage.
Where Can I Find Sufficient Insurance that Covers Tornadoes?
Whether you need help assessing your current insurance policy for tornado coverage, or you are interested in changing insurance providers, knowledgeable, independent insurance agents on the Trusted Choice network are always here to help. These agents can answer your questions, suggest coverage options, and even assist you in filing a claim. They have years of experience working with Arizona insurance companies, enabling them to find you a number of quotes with the best coverage options at the most affordable rates. Contact a Trusted Choice agent near you to find out if your insurance policy will cover you in the event of a tornado.