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Commerce Department alerts Minnesotans to review their insurance policies now before severe weather hits

4/8/2016 12:25:58 PM

For Immediate Release:

SAINT PAUL, MN -- The Minnesota Department of Commerce encourages Minnesotans to get ready for damaging storms this year as part of Minnesota Severe Weather Awareness Week, April 11 – 15. Now is the time for Minnesotans to review their property and casualty insurance needs to make sure they have adequate coverage.

“Minnesotans can protect themselves from severe storms and damage by having the right insurance,” said Commerce Commissioner Rothman. “Make sure you have the appropriate amount of coverage for your home, car, and belongings to recover from a loss.”

The Commerce Department offers the following guidance for Minnesota to ensure they are ready for severe weather this year:

Plan ahead and manage risk

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. 

Meet with your insurance agent annually or as needed to ensure your insurance 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.

Home inventory

Maintaining a complete, accurate and up-to-date inventory of the contents of your home will help you determine what insurance coverage you need and make a claim if you suffer storm damage. /commerce/consumers/your-home/protect/dic/index.jspThe Commerce website has tips for starting a Home Inventory.

You can download the free home inventory app for iPhone or Android smartphones. The app guides you through capturing images, descriptions, bar codes and serial numbers, and then stores them electronically for safekeeping. The app even creates a backup file for email sharing.

What's not covered

A standard homeowners and renters insurance policy does not protect your home or belongings from damage associated with floods, or sewer and drain backup. Ask your agent if you need this additional coverage.

To be covered by flood insurance, consumers need a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program. The policies have a 30-day waiting period before they are effective. For more information about flood insurance, visit floodsmart.gov or call 888-379-9531.

Visit the Commerce website for more information on homeowners and renters insurance policies.

Financial Recovery after a disaster

The Commerce Department has also teamed up with the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development to create a Financial Recovery After Disaster Video series. These brief videos, along with supporting materials, offer comprehensive guidance on how to survive and manage the financial impact when disaster strikes.

Specifically, the “Insurance Coverage” video discusses the different types of insurance that may apply in the wake of a severe weather event, as well as what disasters are covered by insurance. This video also includes information on how to contact your insurance agent in the aftermath of a storm, and what to expect. If it turns out that your insurance coverage does not meet all of your needs to deal with storm damage, the “Finding Help” video discusses community-based resources that can assist you.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce is here to help. 

If you have a question or concern about insurance, contact the Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center by email at consumer.protection@state.mn.us or by phone at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 (Greater Minnesota).

Media Contact:
Ross Corson
Director of Communications
Minnesota Department of Commerce
P: 651-539-1463 | C: 651-368-5050 | ross.corson@state.mn.us

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