Because of the sparseness of Maine's population, the tornadoes that touch down each year rarely cause fatalities, and with the right tornado insurance, residents can rebuild quickly. With typical wind speeds of 300 mph, major structural damage is likely any time a tornado crosses into a populated area. You can get quotes on a suitable policy for your home, car or business so that wind damage is not a concern.
The Maine Emergency Management Agency advises that you listen to local weather reports when a tornado is possible, and watch for the following signs:
If possible, seek shelter in a basement or the inner room of a large building, away from windows and doors. Cover your head to protect yourself from flying debris. If you are in a mobile home or you are driving a car, try to move to a more solid shelter before the tornado arrives.
Tornadoes in Maine usually arise from summer storms and strike wooded areas in the southern and central portions of the state. On rare occasions, they have struck small coastal towns and farms.
A typical homeowners policy covers high winds, falling trees, flying debris and the damage they cause. This includes a torn or missing roof; broken windows, doors and walls; and even a total structural loss. It also covers damaged or missing property, like furniture, electronics, clothing and appliances. If you have temporary housing coverage, it can pay for your hotel or apartment while you wait for repairs to be completed.
Severe rainstorms can also often accompany tornadoes, and the flooding caused by these storms is not included in your homeowners coverage. To cover the cost of flood damage, you need a flood insurance policy, subsidized by the National Flood Insurance Program. If the government declares a tornado or flooding that strikes your area to be a federal disaster, FEMA aid may become available. But FEMA money arrives in the form of government loans that you must repay. A homeowners and flood insurance policy can help you rebuild debt-free.
If you own a mobile or manufactured home, it is very important to purchase mobile home insurance, even if you own the home outright. Manufactured homes are made of lightweight materials that are more vulnerable to the effects of a tornado. With the right mobile home coverage, you can repair or replace your house quickly and cover your temporary housing costs in the meantime.
Your landlord's insurance covers the building you rent, whether you live in a house, apartment, condo or townhome. But the items you own and keep in the home are yours to insure. Most tenants keep an average of $20,000 in personal property in the home they rent. If a tornado wipes out your apartment building or house and you have insufficient tornado insurance, you are responsible for the cost of replacing your belongings. That is why renters insurance is helpful.
Renters insurance is very inexpensive, and can pay to help you replace belongings, such as these:
Besides tornado loss, your renters policy can also cover theft, vandalism and other types of storm damage, as well as liability. But like homeowners insurance, renters coverage does not cover natural flooding. The NFIP offers renters policies for this purpose, at very low rates.
ME state law requires that you purchase the minimum liability coverage for your vehicle. The state does not require that you carry comprehensive coverage that can protect you from tornado loss. This coverage is also known as "other than collision" coverage because it takes care of damage caused by falling trees, hail, theft, vandalism and other miscellaneous causes, including wind storms.
If you finance your car, your lender may require that you keep comprehensive coverage for the life of the loan. But after your car is paid off, it is your decision whether to invest in this coverage. Considering all the possible causes of damage to your vehicle, it is usually worth a few extra dollars each month to invest in comprehensive insurance.
Maine is home to hundreds of independent agents in the Trusted Choice® network, ready to help you insure your home, vehicle and business with the right amount of tornado insurance protection. Because these agents work with many insurance companies, you can get customized quotes based on your coverage needs and budget.
Contact a local agent in your area to get the right policy for yourself.