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Preparing for a Natural Disaster

Be prepared so you can reduce your risks of loss 

How can your insurance for your home, auto and property work best for you?  

Talk with your insurance agent or insurance company at least once each year, to ensure your coverage is adequate to protect you and your family against loss.  

Take into account any recent changes or additions to your property or surrounding area. 


Do you have a home inventory?  

  • Having a list of the property you own will help you in making an insurance claim if your home is damaged in a disaster. 
  • Research has shown homeowners who did not have a home inventory prior to a disaster ended up with insurance claim settlements significantly below what the homeowner’s possessions were worth.  

What are your insurance policy limits? 

Many people wait until after they experience a loss to understand their coverage. Unfortunately, these decisions cannot be undone and they will directly affect your ability to recover from a loss.  

  • Review your existing insurance coverage and figure out where your “gaps” are.  
  • Make sure you are aware of your policy limits, deductibles, and exclusions.  
  • Be aware of possible changes to your homeowner insurance coverage. Some insurance carriers have higher deductibles for wind and hail damage or exclusions that narrow coverage for storm damage. 

Do you need an insurance endorsement, or rider?  

  • Most homeowners policies have limits for jewelry, electronics, and other valuables. You may need a rider to cover valuables above those limits.  
  • You may need a rider to cover the risks for your home’s sewer drain to back up.   
  • If you have a sump pump in your basement, you could get a rider to cover costs if the sump pump fails and your basement gets wet.   

Do you need flood insurance?  

If you need flood insurance, you need to buy a separate policy for your home. The National Flood Insurance Program is offered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency: 

Flash flooding is becoming increasingly more frequent, as Minnesota’s changing climate is leading to more extreme weather.  Are you at risk for flash flooding? Consider flood insurance.  

What is actual cash value vs. replacement cost coverage? 

Imagine that your roof is damaged in a storm and all the shingles need to be replaced. The cost to replace them is $10,000. The shingles are 10 years old, but they should have lasted for 20 years under normal conditions. Therefore, they have depreciated by one-half of their full value.  

  • Under an actual cash value policy: You would only be paid $5,000 for a loss, minus any deductible. 
  • Under a replacement cost policy: You would initially receive $5,000 for the loss of the roof. Then, after having it repaired or replaced, you would submit the bill to the insurance company for the balance, not to exceed the amount determined by the insurance company to return your roof to its original condition. 

Have more questions or concerns or complaints about insurance for your home, auto, property?  

Contact the Commerce Consumer Service Center
File a complaint online
Call: 651-539-1600, or for Greater MN: 800-657-3602 

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