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Posted: 12:10 a.m. Monday, March 18, 2013

Storm Season: Time to check insurance is now

Tornado Damage in Woodward, Oklahoma April 16, 2012 KRMG Tulsa
Tornado Damage in Woodward, Oklahoma April 16, 2012 KRMG Tulsa

By Russell Mills

TULSA —

Anyone who has lived in Oklahoma for any length of time knows it's not a matter of if, but rather when the next major outbreak of storms will wreak havoc and destroy homes.

Many people have emergency kits with batteries, water, weather radios, et cetera and have a plan for power outages or other minor emergencies.

Unfortunately, however, all too many aren't prepared for complete disaster, though they might think they are.

Experts in insurance say now is the time to sit down with an agent and discuss your coverage.

It's important to consider not only the value of the home itself, but also its contents.

And, people are urged to have photos or video of their possessions to help document them in the event of a loss, and of course store that documentation safely away from the home.

[Excellent advice on how to do this from photography.com]

Many insurance companies, and the Oklahoma Insurance Departmennt, offer apps and web pages where those photos can be stored.

Three examples:

Know Your Stuff
My Home ScrAPP Book
What You Own (trial version)

Your insurance agent can likely point you to an app specifically designed or supported by his or her company as well.

Other considerations include the possible necessity of flood insurance, which is not sold by private companies except in rare circumstances.

Flood insurance is actually handled by the federal government through FEMA.

There's some bad news there; the National Flood Insurance Program is more than doubling its premiums in most cases over the next five years in order to remain solvent.

The main message in all of this is that homeowners and renters alike need to be proactive, as in many cases insurance policies don't take effect immediately.

Flood insurance, for example, only becomes active after 30 days.

The time to prepare for the Spring storm season is before it truly gets underway.

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