Most homeowners, fortunately, will never need to file an insurance claim to repair damages to their home brought on by severe weather, but your odds do increase depending on where you live.
To pinpoint the Top 5 states most affected by some of Mother Nature’s fury in 2015, insuranceQuotes looked at data from the National Weather Service. Included in the data were occurrences of tornadoes, hail and high winds -- all three of which can lead to large claims on your homeowners insurance policy.
It appears things are definitely bigger in Texas when it comes to inclement weather. It took the No. 1 spot on our worst weather list.
Texas, not surprisingly, also had the dubious honor of having the most weather-related insurance claims of any state, leading the nation in 2015 with 466,250 claims. Those claims totaled more than $3.2 billion and did not include catastrophic flooding.
Indeed, 2015 was a big weather year for Texas, but not necessarily an unusual one.
“Texas has had a significant number of catastrophic weather events over the last couple of years,” says Mark Hanna, spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas.
Hanna stresses homeowners need to be prepared no matter where they live because you never know what weather patterns will happen from year to year.
“The extremely high number of tornadoes [in Texas] coincides with our abundant rainfall last year,” he adds. “We seem to go from one extreme to the other.”
Texas wasn’t the only state hammered by hail, tornadoes and wind in 2015. Check out the other four state to make the Top 5 List. You may be surprised.
Top 5 states for bad weather
1. TEXAS (1,962 total incidents)
The Lone Star State topped the list in all three incidents compiled by the weather service – 951 incidents of high wind, 783 incidents of hail and 228 reports of tornadoes.
2. KANSAS (1,151 total incidents)
Kansans know the threat of tornadoes. It’s a way of life on the Central Plains so the 178 reports of twisters in 2015 isn't extraordinary. But this Midwestern state also is no stranger to hail with 519 such incidents – second only to Texas. The state's total high wind reports were 454.
3. GEORGIA (894 total incidents)
This Southern state doesn’t finish in the Top 5 in any specific category, but its strong showing in the wind category blows it into the overall third spot. Georgia's 2015 storm breakdown is 804 incidents of high wind, 66 incidents of hail and 24 reports of tornado.
4. MISSOURI (817 total incidents)
Coming in just behind Georgia is Kansas’ neighbor to the east, Missouri. The Show Me State had 517 reports of high wind, 252 reports of hail and 48 tornadoes.
5. OKLAHOMA (789 total incidents)
Sooners know about tornadoes and hail. The state placed high in both categories with 111 reports of tornadoes and 349 for hail. Oklahoma had 329 incidents of high wind.
Home safety tips before severe weather hits
So, what can be done before bad weather hits? Try these ideas from the Texas Coalition for Affordable Insurance Solutions.
Review your homeowners insurance coverage
Homeowners should contact their insurance agent every few years to re-evaluate coverage because things at your home do change as a result of a remodeling project, room addition or new roof. While homeowners assume their insurance will cover all damage from a natural catastrophe, many homes are undervalued for insurance purposes.
Maintain your home
Regular maintenance of your home’s interior and exterior can reduce damage from severe weather. Pay close attention to the roof, which is the first line of defense in hailstorms and high winds. Routinely inspect your roof and make repairs as necessary even if you consider them minor.
Use appropriate materials for home projects
Know your risk for specific weather disasters and invest in the proper protective building materials. This can include items such as impact-resistant roof shingles (hail) and framing anchors to more effectively tie together a house (tornadoes and high winds).
Tips for filing an insurance claim after a storm
Once storm damage has occurred your first thought after personal safety should be to document the damage. Contact your insurance company before any cleanup or repair efforts because most policies require you show the damaged property to the insurer.
“It’s only natural for people to want to clean up and try to repair damage right away,” says Germaine Marks, former director of the Arizona Department of Insurance. “But if you really need to clean up debris or make repairs before your insurance representative sees the damage, be sure to document the damage first.”
Most homeowners insurance policies cover wind, tornado and hail damage, but flooding typically requires separate coverage. Check your policy to see exactly what is covered.
In extreme cases, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can step in to help, but according to officials, only about 50 percent of weather disasters will fall under the federal agency.
Here are some tips from various state agencies to help you through a weather-related insurance claim process:
• File your claim as soon as you can.
• Provide complete, correct and prompt information.
• Pay attention to local news to find out if state and federal agencies are available to help with relief efforts.
• Contact your insurance company again if an adjuster has not been assigned to you within several days.
• Take notes and keep all correspondence.
• Keep records of your time and expenses.
• Consider getting independent repair estimates before you meet with the claims adjuster.
• Ask questions about your claim. If there is a disagreement about the claim settlement, ask the company for a written explanation of the reason for any claim denials.
• Don’t rush into a settlement. If the insurance company’s first settlement offer does not meet your expectations, negotiate and ask for itemized explanations