March 17, 2014

Department of Insurance offers guidance to Missourians in anticipation of spring storms

Consumers should review their policies, make a home inventory

Jefferson City, Mo. - As spring approaches, so does the peak season for storms. The Missouri Department of Insurance encourages consumers to review their policies to make sure they have adequate coverage, and to prepare a home inventory.

"Now is the time to talk to your insurance agent to see if your home and belongings are adequately covered," said John M. Huff, director of the department. "Don't wait until after you suffer a loss to learn what level of protection your policy provides."

Homeowners insurance

Policy limits on homes and belongings can quickly become outdated. A homeowners insurance policy that's five years old may not cover the entire cost to rebuild a home or replace lost or damaged possessions. Homeowners should annually review their policy limits to ensure they are protected from unpredictable events. Get more information.

Renters insurance

Many renters forego this type of insurance because they assume their landlord's insurance will cover any loss or damage to their belongings. However, landlords typically only insure structures, not their tenants' possessions.

Whether you are renting an apartment, condo or house, consider renters insurance. With premiums averaging $8-$21 per month for $20,000- $30,000 of coverage, renters insurance is an affordable way to protect your belongings. Get more information.

Prepare a home inventory

The department also 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 location.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners also offers a free handy downloadable app for iPhone users and Android users that stores your home inventory electronically. 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 caused by floods, earthquakes or sewer and drain backups. Ask your agent if you need this additional coverage.

To be covered by flood insurance, contact the National Flood Insurance Program. Policies have a 30-day waiting period before they're effective. For more information about flood insurance, visit or call 888-379-9531.

For other tips about preparing for severe weather, visit the Department of Insurance's online severe weather page.