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.
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Be Tornado Safe in ME
The Maine Emergency Management Agency advises that you listen to local weather reports when a tornado is possible, and watch for the following signs:
- Dark or green skies
- Wall-shaped clouds
- Large hail
- Roaring sound, like a train
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.
Do You Have Coverage Against Tornadoes?
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.
What If a Maine Tornado Strikes a Rental Home?
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:
- Small appliances
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.
Does Your Car Need Maine Tornado Insurance?
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.
How Do You Protect Your Business from a Tornado?
- Make sure you have a business policy that covers structures, equipment, merchandise and other property against wind damage.
- Create an emergency plan for employees and customers to follow in case of a tornado. The plan should include directions to the safest room or area in each building, evacuation instructions and a first aid kit and a weather radio.
- Offer to send some of your employees to disaster training with the Red Cross or another relief agency so that you have ready responders on hand to administer CPR and attend to injured customers and staff while you wait for help to arrive.
- Get comprehensive coverage on your commercial vehicles to cover weather-related loss.
- Opt for business interruption insurance so that you can afford to cover employee pay and lost income while you rebuild after the storm.
Maine Residents Can Get Quotes on Tornado 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.