For Immediate Release:
SAINT PAUL, MN – The first day of spring signals the beginning of severe weather season – floods, thunderstorms, and tornadoes. Consumers who have experienced the devastation of a natural disaster, forcing families and businesses to clean up and file insurance claims, understand the importance of planning ahead. The Minnesota Department of Commerce is reminding Minnesota homeowners to use this time to determine if they may need to purchase flood insurance coverage. Flood damage is not covered under a standard homeowner's policy and flood insurance policies need to be purchased 30 days prior to its use.
While assessing insurance coverage needs, this is also a good time to take stock of the contents of your home. Troubling evidence suggests that more than half of all consumers do not have a home inventory of their possessions, putting them at risk for inadequate home insurance coverage. Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Commerce urges renters to purchase renters insurance to protect their belongings.
"Disasters are unforeseen by definition, but Minnesotans can take steps to help protect themselves and aid in the event of a claim and recovery,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “Documenting your possessions by creating a home inventory ahead of a storm can help ensure your insurance coverage fits your needs and helps in the claims process in the event of a storm or flood.”
Preparation is critically important to recover quickly after a disaster. In an effort to help Minnesotans proactively review their insurance needs and streamline their response after a disaster, the Minnesota Department of Commerce is urging consumers to visit its Disaster Information Center located on the Commerce website. This one-stop-shop was created to provide important information and resources that all Minnesotans should know and understand ahead of the upcoming storm season. The Disaster Information Center includes consumer information in the following areas:
Of all the resources and information available on the Commerce Department’s Disaster Center, Commissioner Rothman particularly encourages all Minnesotans to learn more about Home Inventories. Among the tools on the Commerce website is a home inventory checklist consumers can use to take inventory of their belongings. In addition to walking consumers from room to room in their home, the checklist also encourages consumers to make a note of the brand, model number, serial number and what was paid for each item.
Creating a home inventory is easier than ever thanks to myHOME Scr.APP.book, a new iPhone and Android application from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The free myHOME Scr.APP.book app lets you quickly photograph and capture images, descriptions, bar codes and serial numbers, and then stores them electronically for safekeeping. The app organizes information room by room, and even creates a back-up file for e-mail sharing.
Rebuilding after a storm
The Minnesota Department of Commerce Consumer Response Team (CRT) is available to help consumers with questions, concerns, or complaints following a damaging storm, flood, or tornado. CRT experts can help you understand your rights, work with your insurer to settle a claim, and help you make informed insurance decisions after a flood or storm damages your home, auto, or property.
Phone: (651) 539-1600 or (800) 657-3602 (Greater Minnesota)
Address: Minnesota Department of Commerce, Consumer Protection and Education Division, 85 7th Place East, St. Paul, MN 55101