September 13, 2016

Missouri Department of Insurance encourages Missourians to prepare for the unexpected during National Preparedness Month

Jefferson City, Mo - Every year the Show-Me State experiences unforeseen weather emergencies that Missourians have to be prepared to overcome. The Missouri Department of Insurance encourages Missourians to get ready by reviewing their insurance policies and knowing what is covered during National Preparedness Month in September.

"We can protect our families and communities by planning for emergencies and for the unexpected before it happens," said Missouri Department of Insurance Director John M. Huff. "Insurance is there to safeguard your investments, property and livelihood when the unforeseen threatens it. I encourage all Missourians to prepare this month by reviewing their coverage and speaking with their agent."   

Missouri is prone to a multitude of natural disasters - from floods and droughts to earthquakes and tornadoes - that need to be taken into consideration. The department encourages Missourians to follow the tips below.

Download the Mo2Go Wallet

The Mo2Go Wallet App allows you to store all of your insurance information on your smartphone. Users have the ability to text or email their insurance cards right from the app. When disaster strikes, don't stress about having to locate all of your insurance documentation; have it on your smartphone by downloading the Mo2Go Wallet.

Earthquake

Residents of the Show-Me State live next to the nation's most active earthquake zone east of the Rocky Mountains, the New Madrid Seismic Zone. Despite the proximity, less than one in five homes in the New Madrid area had earthquake coverage in 2015.

Earthquake coverage is not covered under most homeowners' policies and Missourians should speak with their insurance agent about earthquake coverage. Traditional homeowners' insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage and many consumers are under the false belief that FEMA will help them recover should a major earthquake damage their home. Under FEMA's Individual Assistance program, the maximum grant award is $32,900, far less than what most homes are worth. 

To help Missourians find coverage, the department provides an online list of insurance companies that offer earthquake insurance. The department also debunks common earthquake insurance myths in a video aimed to educate Missourians about coverage.

Homeowners Insurance

Policy limits on homes and belongings can become outdated. A homeowner's insurance policy that's more than five years old may not cover the entire cost associated with rebuilding a home or replacing lost or damaged possessions. Homeowners should make it a habit to review their policy limits annually to ensure they are better protected from unpredictable events. Get more information.

Renters insurance

A landlord's insurance policy usually covers the structure of the building but not the possession's of the tenant. If you are renting an apartment, condo or house, consider renters insurance. With premiums averaging $8-21 per month for $20,000 to $30,000 worth of coverage, renters insurance is an affordable way to protect your belongings. Get more information.

Prepare a home inventory

The department also strongly encourages consumers to prepare a list of their belongings. A home inventory can help determine the level of coverage needed before disaster strikes, and it can make it easier to file a claim.

There are several ways to start building a home inventory. The Department of Insurance offers a free home inventory booklet. If you are using an electronic or paper spreadsheet, remember to take pictures of your belongings, and save them, along with your home inventory, in a safe, fireproof place.

You can also download the free home inventory app for iPhone or Android devices. 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 doesn't protect your home or belongings from damage associated with floods, earthquakes 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. Policies have a 30-day waiting period before they're effective. For more information about flood insurance, visit floodsmart.gov or call 888-379-9531.

Consumers with insurance related questions or complaints are encouraged to call the department's Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 or visit insurance.mo.gov.

About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration

The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals. The department's seven divisions work to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.

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