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Missouri Home Insurance

Catastrophes in Missouri historically are unrelenting, bringing show-me-state residents' a disquiet in any absence of tornadoes, flash floods, blizzards, thunderstorms and even earthquakes. In Missouri it is not so much if disaster strikes, but when.

Add to the disasters that hazards such as household injuries and house fires still happen too.

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What kind of coverage do you need?

First, start out with a checklist to make sure you buy the right insurance and are prepared in case you need to use it.

  1. Buy coverage that pays for your family to live for an extended period of time if you are displaced from your home.
  2. Make an inventory of all of your belongings, purchase price, serial numbers, include photos.
  3. Upload a copy of your inventory to the cloud, email and mail to friends and family who live outside the region and state.
  4. Email a copy of your inventory to your insurance agent.
  5. Insure your house and structures on the property for the actual amount it would cost to rebuild it in today's money.
  6. Hire a contractor and a home appraiser to establish how much it costs to rebuild your house.
  7. Get the estimates in writing and save it with copies of your inventory. Send to friends and family and the insurance company.
  8. Have separate business insurance.
  9. Buy replacement insurance that covers to replace your belongings and the structure of your house with like valued, new items and construction.
  10. Add security and safety features that prevent burglaries and fires from destroying your home.
  11. Buy riders for extra protection on precious stamp, coin and jewelry collections.
  12. Make sure you have auto insurance to cover your vehicles.
  13. Buy inflation guard, which ensures your coverage limits rise with inflation.
  14. Keep your policy number, insurance agent contact and claims processing phone numbers handy during a natural disaster.

The key to having some peace of mind is buying a homeowners insurance policy that covers against all of the above perils, as they are called in insurance language. Some pieces of coverage are bought separately. Those include earthquake and flood insurance.

To be eligible for flood insurance, check floodsmart.gov to see if you are in the federally defined flood plain.

The wind damage and rain associated with a tornado are covered under your homeowners policy. Check any policy to find out if it will include damages caused by hail and falling objects, such as tree limbs or snow and ice.

But, That Earthquake Happened 200 Years Ago

The idea of homeowners insurance is to insure you against catastrophes. While the New Madrid Fault earthquake happened in 1811-1812, it means it can happen again. As long as the US Geological Survey considers New Madrid a risk, it is still a concern.

For earthquake coverage, the Missouri Department of Insurance lists carriers and what regions of Missouri they insure. When you buy your homeowners insurance, you buy earthquake coverage separately as an endorsement to your policy.

Finding Honest, Trustworthy and Efficient Insurance Carriers

If you need to make an insurance claim on a house, it is most likely after stressful events. Maybe you need a place to stay for the next year, after last night's tornado. Having an insurance carrier that drags you along requesting additional information verifying your claim is an insult and might keep you in harm's way.

Do the research to find out what homeowners insurance companies are top service providers in the following areas:

  1. Response time
  2. Customer Service availability, knowledge, helpfulness, understanding and response
  3. Claims adjuster communication and speed to arrive
  4. Efficiency of claims processing
  5. Efficiency to pay out on claims
  6. Integrity to pay out on valid claims at the proper rate.

In particular, state insurance departments keep records on what companies have complaints and which ones are comparatively complaint free. Search the Internet to find out what insurance companies customers in Missouri prefer. When customers have bad experiences, they definitely talk about it.

How to File a Claim After a Disaster

After a disaster, the claims adjuster will come to your home's site and get to work evaluating the claim and damages. They will ask you to claim what you lost, which is why it's necessary to have that inventory list handy. They will ask you for a statement on the disaster, such as the tornado or storm and have you sign your claim.

In the case of massive flooding, for instance, where there is widespread devastation, the insurance company may set up a temporary office. It is an effort to efficiently assess damage for policyholders in the area. It makes it easier for you to get in touch with the insurance carrier, as your phone may not be working. Do make a note that it's wise to keep your insurance company's contact information along with your inventory with you during a storm.

Store vital insurance contact information, policy numbers and claims department phone numbers in your cellphone too. Even if the storm ruins your home and knocks out cell service, you can refer to the information to make the claim.

The insurance companies need to have the financial ability to pay out on claims. Confirm they can pay by checking insurance creditworthiness.

Saving Money on Insurance

Potential for devastation and proven destruction makes rates climb. What you can do to offset this is the following:

  1. Compare quotes from reliable, efficient, credit worthy, customer-service-oriented carriers
  2. Buy vehicle insurance from the same carrier to rack up multiple lines of insurance discount
  3. Increase deductibles to decrease premiums
  4. Add security and fire monitoring to prevent fire and burglars from destroying and stealing your belongings
  5. Maintain your home and the grounds. Take down dead branches and trees
  6. Promptly shovel snow and salt walkways and driveway to prevent people from slipping
  7. Put precious jewelry and handbags in a home safe bolted to a floor

Fire Prevention and Drills

You may not be able to prevent a fire, but know how to react to one. The key is to get everyone in your family out as quickly as possible. Fire spreads very fast and smoke makes it hard to see and breathe. That's why it's wise to practice various escape routes and have at-home fire drills.

For second- and third-floor living quarters, be sure you have fire escapes or handy fire ladders. Fire extinguishers are useful, as long as you keep them filled and tested annually. Have fresh batteries in your smoke detectors too.

Be prepared for disasters. It will make life easier on yourself and your family following the devastation mother nature can deliver. The key is to be able to move forward back to life without causing further emotional and financial damage.

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