There is no force of nature more terrifying than a tornado. They can appear within seconds at any spot on the map. Within minutes, a tornado can destroy homes, vehicles, and lives, leaving costly damages in its wake.
While the state of Vermont does not lie in infamous "Tornado Alley", it has seen its share of tornadoes. In fact, there has been a tornado in every state in the U.S. While some may cause minor damage or no damage at all, others can devastate a whole community. While staying safe in a tornado is immensely important, knowing that you have sufficient tornado coverage will help you recover after the twister moves on.
Tornadoes Happen - Even in Vermont
There have been many devastating tornadoes in the Green Mountain State. Here are a few facts about tornadoes in Vermont:
- In June of 2010, an F-1 tornado touched down in Orleans County.
- In June of 2002, an F-2 tornado touched down in Windham County.
- Approximately 75% of the world’s tornadoes occur in the United States.
- About 1,200 tornadoes hit the U.S. yearly.
- Much about tornadoes is still unknown, as to how they form, which makes predicting them difficult.
Since tornadoes can happen at any time of day, any day of the year, it's important to make sure that your homeowners insurance and flood insurance are sufficiently covering you assets.
What is Tornado Insurance?
While tornadoes do not require a specific "rider" or independent policy, you do need to be sure that your homeowners and auto insurance covers damage from a tornado. Damage from a tornado can range from broken windows and doors to complete home destruction. Additionally, damage from floods is not covered under homeowners insurance, and must be purchased separately, provided by the NFIP.
Typically, tornadoes are covered under homeowners insurance, as they are termed a "windstorm". Some insurance policies will list tornadoes as specific perils, while some insurance agencies let them fall under windstorms. The same holds true for hurricanes.
What Does Tornado Insurance Cover?
Your homeowners insurance will typically include the following tornado coverage:
- Dwelling: The main structure of the house. This does not include personal assets.
- Other Structures: This portion covers items such as an attached garage or shed. The structure must be physically connected to the main dwelling.
- Personal Property: This coverage includes all of your personal property.
- Loss of Use: If your home becomes damaged during a storm and is uninhabitable, your costs for a hotel or rental dwelling will be covered.
You are required to carry homeowners insurance in Vermont, and many mortgage lenders will not let you purchase a home without an insurance policy in place. When it comes to reimbursement for damaged items, you can choose from the following:
- Actual Cash Value: Actual cash value (ACV) will reimburse you for the value of the item minus depreciation.
- Replacement Cost Value: Replacement cost value will replace your item with a cost-equivalent.
Remember, this insurance policy does not cover flood related damage. You must purchase a separate flood insurance policy.
How Much Coverage Do I Need in Vermont?
When it comes to determining how much coverage you need, it's important to get an adequate monetary figure for the value of your belongings. One of the first steps you should take when deciding how much tornado insurance coverage to get is to take a home inventory. This is a tally of all your belongings and how much they're worth. Make sure to include serial numbers and photos of any expensive items. Once you have your total, you should get a policy that covers double that amount.
You should also take into consideration what your family spends on food, gas, and bills on a monthly basis, and make sure that the "Loss of Use" policy covers this amount.
What About My Vehicles, Boats, ATV's, or Aircraft?
Your homeowners insurance will most likely not cover damage to your vehicle, boat, ATV, or aircraft caused by a tornado. In order to obtain coverage sufficient to cover tornado damage, you will need to purchase comprehensive coverage on each of these items. Comprehensive coverage covers all damage other than collision. This includes damage from events like tornadoes, wind, fire, theft, and vandalism.
If you have a loan for any of these items, you are usually required to carry comprehensive insurance. However, even if you own the item outright, it's still a wise idea to protect your owned item with a comprehensive insurance policy. Many owners will keep only liability insurance on the items they own without a loan attached, and liability only repairs or replaces the damaged party's property. Tornado insurance might be a smart thing to purchase when you're looking to protect these expensive investments.
How Do I Get Tornado Insurance Quotes in Vermont?
To get an accurate policy quotes for tornado insurance, it's important to know basics about your home. Just a few factors that can affect the price you pay for insurance are:
- Location of home
- Structure materials
- Age/Worth of home
- Any custom work in the home
- Any weatherproofing materials installed
- Value of Assets
- Deductibles preferred
- Coverage amount preferred
When it comes to covering your home from flood damage with a flood insurance policy through the NFIP, factors that may affect your rates may be:
- Location of home in relation to flood plain
- Age of home
- Home worth
- Structure materials
- Number of floors
- Value of assets
There also may be discounts available on your policy, such as:
- Multi-policy discount
- Claim-free discount
- Customer loyalty discount
- Military/Industry affiliation discount
- Security system discount
It is essential to discuss available discounts with your insurance agent to be sure you are getting an accurate quote. Every insurance company offers it's customers different discounts, so be sure to ask the insurance agent about any discounts you may not be aware of.
How Do I Get Tornado Insurance in Vermont?
Obtaining coverage for your home and belongings is an important step in being a responsible owner. Whether you have questions regarding your current coverage, would like to know more about available coverage, or even need help filing a claim, a Trusted Choice® agent is always available to help you.
Contact an agent today to get started.