You probably noticed that your insurance premium keeps rising like a flood in spring. It’s not just you. According to the Insurance Industry Institute, premiums rose 7.7% in 2011 and 5.6% in 2012 (the latest year for which figures are available). Expert say another increase is inevitable, given that the tide of water and storm-related claims shows no sign of abating.
It should also come as no surprise that the most frequent cause of storm-related damage is wind. Hurricanes, tornados, blizzards . . . . all have a windy component that can tear the shingles off your roof, entangle your satellite disk in a nearby tree, relocate your lawn furniture to a neighbor’s yard and cause all kinds of havoc inside the home.
Florida had the highest average home-insurance premium in the nation— $2,084 in 2012, compared with $538 for Idaho.
In fact, the government has now described and labeled some colorful forms of damaging winds— some we never heard before this year— including:
- A microburst is a short, concentrated burst of damaging winds on the surface of the Earth They usually are short-lived..
- A haboob is a wall of dust that is pushed along the ground by a thunderstorm downdraft.
- A derecho is a widespread, long-lasting storm that’s associated with many fast-moving showers and thunderstorms.
UWR Restores Homes After Wind Damage
There’s also the garden-variety thunderstorm. During summer, they are frequent and seen as harmless. But the National Severe Storms Laboratory says thunderstorm winds account for half of all severe damage reports in the lower 48.
Mobile homes, of which there are millions in Florida, are especially vulnerable to high winds.
That said, there is really no part of the country where people are safe from wind damage. The midwest is famous for its tornados. The northeast and upper midwest endure blizzards. Derechos (the word comes from the Spanish for ‘direct’ or ‘straight ahead’) occur across the nation. Derechos have caused extended power outages in Kansas City, Cincinnati, Atlantic City and Washington, DC, among others.
Even if you are safe at home watching the Weather Channel, you can be hurt by wind damage. How many homeowners elected to sit out Hurricane Andrew and lost everything in the process? We can be grateful that hurricane preparedness has cut the death toll since 1928 when a storm called Okeechobee claimed more than 2,500 lives in Florida.
In other respects, we have more at stake. Our homes and possessions are worth thousands more than they were in the 1920s. So maybe a little preparation is in order. Experts recommend installing storm shutters and battening down the outside doors. (See this link: ‘Preparing for a Hurricane’)
September is the most common month for hurricanes, according to NOAA. Another thing you can do to prepare for an emergency is to document your belongings. Video your home. Take an inventory of the most important assets. Put your vital documents and receipts in a waterbox, or store them in some safe location like a bank vault.
And keep our number handy: 800-430-5838. Because obviously, it’s not ‘if’; it’s ‘when’ the next storm will occur.