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Tips to prepare for summer storm damage

Summer in Minnesota means getting outside and enjoying the lakes and other vacation and recreational opportunities the state presents. But it also means the chance of towering thunderstorms, bringing hail, strong winds, tornados and torrential rainfall. It seems severe weather is becoming ever more sporadic and localized, which means your home could be severely damaged by a storm that leaves homes a mile or two away unscathed.

Insurance companies do not make money paying claims, so they are always looking for a chance to minimize payments and reduce their costs. To help prevent complications in your claims process, reduce the likelihood of a denial of your insurance claim and make sure you receive the compensation you need to rebuild and recover, there are things you can do to prepare for a possible claim.

The Insurance Commissioner of Pennsylvania made some suggestions for homeowners and they are just as applicable to homeowners in Minnesota. First, you should check to make certain your policy would cover the replacement value of your home, and not some potentially out-of-date value that could leave you with far less than what rebuilding will cost.

If you live in an area where flooding is possible, you will need separate coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to cover that type of damage. 

You should also maintain a current inventory of your personal property within the home, with detailed identification, price, and ideally, photos. 

This type of record provides you with solid evidence of the value of this property and can be compared with photos taken after the damage has occurred to ensure you receive an adequate payment for your losses.

Documentation is very important. A thorough inventory with photographs (stored in a safe location, like a safety deposit box) can make it very difficult for an insurer to deny a claim, prevent legal disputes from occurring and will likely speed up your claim process.

Source: prnewswire.com, "Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Offers Tips to Homeowners on Severe Weather Preparation as Summer Approaches," Pennsylvania Insurance Department, June 09, 2016.

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