Although Maryland isn't located within the infamous "Tornado Alley," the state does experience several tornadoes each year, and some have devastating results. Too many homeowners do not realize their insurance policies are not sufficient to cover the damages caused by twisters until it is too late. Before you search for tornado insurance quotes, however, there are several factors to consider.
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Maryland Tornado Statistics
According to the Tornado History Project:
- Maryland experiences anywhere from a handful to several dozen tornadoes each year.
- In 1984, five tornadoes touched down in Maryland, killing one, injuring 18 and causing $4.7 million in damages.
- In 1994, 21 tornadoes struck Maryland, injuring one person, but causing more than $7 million in damage.
- The following year, in 1995, 24 tornadoes touched down in the state, injuring five people and causing more than $2.6 million in damages.
As you can see, more tornadoes do not automatically mean more destruction. Just one large twister can cause millions in damages, while dozens of smaller tornadoes pose little risk. While tornado predictions and advanced warning systems help keep injuries low, no one can determine how much damage a tornado can inflict until the dust settles.
What is Tornado Insurance?
Unlike earthquakes, floods or hurricanes, tornadoes are generally covered under homeowners insurance policies and do not require a separate endorsement, or rider. Because of the potential for extensive damage, however, it is strongly recommended to review your policies to make sure your coverage is sufficient if a tornado touchdown occurs. If you rent your home or live in a condominium, it is important to be sure that you have renters or condo insurance to cover your property should a tornado strike. To obtain coverage for tornado damage to your vehicle, you need to have a comprehensive car or truck insurance policy in place. Comprehensive auto insurance includes coverage for all types of weather events.
How Do I Know if My Insurance is Tornado-Proof?
Most Maryland homeowners insurance policies should cover the structure of your home sufficiently if it is significantly damaged or destroyed by a tornado. The complexities start to form when determining how much contents coverage you should carry to adequately protect yourself from tornado damage.
When reviewing your current policy or looking for a new insurance provider, it is vital that you conduct an inventory of all your personal possessions. Go room to room and make a list of your furnishings, appliances, electronics, art collections, books, and even clothes. The total value of your personal property should give you an idea of how much contents coverage you need in the event your home is destroyed by a tornado.
Which Policy Options are Best Suited for Tornado Protection?
You will be given a choice between actual cash value and replacement cost as you review quotes from Maryland insurance companies. The difference between these two policy options is great and can mean the difference between a speedy recovery and a slow, painful process.
- Actual cash value: This policy option takes depreciation into account. If your 10-year-old stove is destroyed by a tornado, your insurance company may reimburse you, but only the cost to replace a 10-year-old stove.
- Replacement cost: This option ignores depreciation. Should the insurance company accept your claim for tornado damage, it would reimburse you the cost it takes to replace your old stove with a brand new one of comparable features.
Is My Deductible Appropriate for Tornado Coverage?
While choosing a higher deductible may lower your premium quotes, choosing a deductible that is too high can be risky. Remember, Maryland insurance companies only start to reimburse you for damages and repairs after you have met your deductible. In catastrophic events such as tornadoes, you may have a lot of repairs and necessary replacements. You don't want to wipe out your savings before the insurance company is willing to help out. Be sure the deductible you choose is one that you could comfortably afford to pay should you need to file a claim due to tornado damage.
Is Having Sufficient Tornado Insurance Coverage Expensive?
With a few tweaks and additions to your homeowners, renters or vehicle insurance policy, you can find adequate tornado insurance protection without paying that much more for your current policy. It all comes down to your choices in policy options and the deductible you choose. You may be surprised to learn that a few thousand dollars fewer in a deductible does not automatically translate to significantly higher quotes for your insurance policy.
It's always a good idea to speak with an experienced insurance agent to find out which policy options are best for you. Also, be sure to shop around and compare several quotes from a variety of insurance providers so that you receive the best coverage at the most competitive rates.
How Can I Find Tornado Insurance Coverage?
Insuring your home, apartment or vehicle from tornado damage can be complex and confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Knowledgeable, independent insurance agents in our network are always available to answer any questions, suggest coverage options, and even assist you in filing a claim. These agents have years of experience working with Maryland insurance providers, enabling them to find you a number of quotes from a variety of companies so you only see those quotes with the best coverage options at the most affordable rates.
Contact an agent near you to find out how to secure an insurance policy that protects you from tornado damage and fits your needs and budget.