For all its natural beauty, Iowa certainly does challenge its residents with plenty of severe weather.

Heavy rains which cause flooding are becoming more common here. We hope to never see another tragedy like the Great Flood of 1993, which affected 21,000 homes and caused approximately $2.7 billion in damage, but we know another devastating deluge is bound to happen again someday.

Iowa is unfortunately located in Tornado Alley. There have been 3,107 recorded tornadoes in our state since 1950, including two F5 tornadoes which claimed 18 lives over the course of just two days in May of 1968. All together these tornadoes caused $8.5 million in crop damage and nearly $2.6 billion in property damage.

While snowfall in Iowa is relatively light compared to some other parts of the country, the state is not without its own long record of blizzards. (In fact, the word “blizzard” itself was coined by an Iowan.) The Super Bowl Blizzard of 1975 which killed 100,000 farm animals across the Midwest heavily impacted Northwest Iowa, and more than 200,000 claims representing over $1.6 billion in property damage resulted from the 2020 derecho alone.

In addition to forming a sound plan that will keep you and your family safe during a severe weather emergency, you must also take every precaution to ensure your insurance policies will cover your property whenever Iowa’s frequently beastly weather attacks. Here are some of the things you can do right now to protect your property from severe weather!


Understand the Different Types of Coverages for Storm Damage

Your home insurance policy is available with a variety of different coverages for storm damage. Understanding the differences between each is crucial to making certain your property is protected against severe weather!

  • Dwelling coverage. True to its name, this form of coverage protects the home itself. It is called Coverage A in a homeowners policy, and it solely applies to the structure – not permanently attached appliances, cabinetry and countertops, or personal belongings like televisions and clothing.
  • Other structures coverage. Also known as Coverage B, this type of coverage extends to protect outbuildings such as detached garages, sheds and gazebos, as well as any fencing surrounding your property.
  • Personal property coverage. Coverage C applies to the appliances, furniture, clothing and other belongings which are expressly omitted from protection by Coverage A (dwelling coverage). Homeowners who own expensive collections of things like antiques, jewelry or firearms are especially encouraged to ensure their personal property coverage will make them whole following a severe weather disaster.
  • Additional living expense coverage. Coverage D pays the policyholder to continue their current standard of living while their home remains uninhabitable in the wake of a covered loss. For example, loss of use coverage will pay for your hotel or rental home while contractors repair damaged parts of your house.

When you purchase a homeowner’s insurance policy, ensure that it offers sufficient types of coverage to make you and your family completely whole following a flood, tornado, blizzard or other catastrophic weather event!


Create a Home Inventory List

Filing claims for lost and/or damaged personal property becomes far easier when you can prove you actually owned that property. That is why you should photograph and create a conclusive list of all the valuables you own – as well as save that inventory so that it won’t be jeopardized by the same severe weather which could damage your belongings. Placing a flash drive or a binder in a bank’s safety deposit box is advisable, as is uploading a digital file to the cloud.

Include the following types of assets when creating your home inventory, but add any others you must to ensure that Coverage C will truly cover all of your personal property.

  • Antiques
  • Art
  • Books
  • Clothing
  • Collectibles
  • Computers
  • Electronics
  • Firearms
  • Furniture
  • Video game systems
  • Jewelry
  • Musical instruments
  • Rugs
  • Sound systems
  • Sports equipment
  • Tools
  • Watercraft

Creating a home inventory list is just as essential for those who rent their homes. Your renters insurance policy necessarily doesn’t cover the building you live in, but the valuable possessions it exists to protect would ideally be accounted for should you ever have to file a claim.


Determine Whether You Require Additional Coverages for Severe Weather

A standard homeowners policy may not provide all the coverage you need to fully protect your home and belongings. Importantly, homeowners policies do not automatically include flood insurance. Considering that 15% of American homes are at significant risk of flood damage, adding a flood insurance policy to your coverage may be necessary.

Purchasing separate coverage for ice, sleet and snow is also highly advisable when you live in a state with so many blizzards on record. This type of coverage goes into effect when heavy wind, fallen trees, or freezing temperatures damage a home’s roofing or plumbing. And if you are an agricultural producer, your livelihood may be destroyed by severe weather unless you have purchased crop insurance for the year.

Severe weather didn’t deter our ancestors from making Iowa a great place to call home. Don’t let it worry you, either! If you are a property owner, renter or farmer living in Iowa, then we welcome you to contact the Hoffman Agency today. Together we will make certain that severe weather cannot threaten you and your family with financial ruin!