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Changing weather patterns mean homeowners need to rethink insurance risks

Contact: Yeraldin Deavila, Public Information Officer
Phone: (775) 687-0772
E-mail: ydeavila@doi.nv.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE– May 1, 2017

CHANGING WEATHER PATTERNS MEAN HOMEOWNERS NEED TO RETHINK

INSURANCE RISKS

New Disaster Prep Guides from Insure U aim to help homeowners before disaster strikes

CARSON CITY, NV – Fewer than 22 percent of homeowners view changing weather patterns or natural disasters as an important factor when updating their homeowners insurance policy, according to a new survey from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). With natural disasters on the rise1, the NAIC urges consumers to consider their insurance risks and understand what is and is not covered in their current policies.

Recent weather in Northern Nevada caused severe flooding, resulting in several major disasters and presidential declarations this year. The worst may not be over, as State officials are preparing for additional flooding from the snow melt in the mountains as the warm weather approaches. There are further concerns with potential for mud and rock slides due to erosion in areas affected by recent wildfires. Damage to your home or property from such events is not covered by homeowners insurance, and can only be covered through a separate flood or earthquake coverage. More than 800 emergency or disaster declarations were made in the United States from 2005-20152, resulting in an average of $24 billion in annual insured losses due to natural catastrophes3. However, the NAIC survey revealed 56 percent of homeowners have not reviewed their insurance policies in more than a year and 14 percent are unsure when — if ever — they last reviewed their policies. Research also indicates nearly half of homeowners (44 percent) have a home inventory. But of those who have an inventory, more than 40 percent have not updated it in more than a year. 

“As Nevada residents, we’ve experienced a significant loss from flooding, wind damages and wildfires over the last year,” said Commissioner Barbara Richardson. “A good way for consumers to be sure to protect their assets is to consider the risks disasters pose within our region and how it can impact their home insurance needs.” 

Before the Storm

Consumers should re-evaluate their risk profile at least once a year to ensure their homeowners policy provides the protection they need. Reach out to your insurance agent or insurance company and discuss any changes to your risk profile and the adequacy of your home insurance. Questions to consider include:

Am I now at risk? Are earthquakes, wildfires, or flood now a threat? Do I need a flood insurance policy? 

What has changed in my home? Did the number of people (and belongings) increase or decrease? Have I made any major purchases?

Have I upgraded my home with a kitchen renovation, new security system or other improvements?

Has there been a change in local community disaster supports; for example are there new fire prevention or protection services available?

Have I maintained a fire protective zone around my house?  Does it need updated?

Should I be looking at different coverage? Can I save money by bundling my home and
auto insurance?

New Disaster Prep Guides from Insure U can help consumers determine the best course of action before, during and after a disaster strikes. The free guides include information and tips for tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and wildfires.  Nevada Division of Insurance also publishes Nevada specific guides for home, flood and earthquake insurance which can be downloaded for free by visiting http://doi.nv.gov/News-Notices/Publications/.  

Disaster Prep Guides are available at insureuonline.org. Consumers interested in insurance information specific to Nevada can contact the Nevada Division of Insurance by visiting www.doi.nv.gov.  

Sources:

1 - https://www.unisdr.org/we/inform/publications/46796

2 - https://www.fema.gov/disasters/grid/year

3 - http://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/catastrophes-us

About the Nevada Division of Insurance

The State of Nevada Division of Insurance, a Division of the Nevada Department of Business and Industry, protects the rights of Nevada consumers and regulates Nevada’s $14 billion insurance industry. The Division of Insurance has offices in Carson City and Las Vegas. In 2016, the Division investigated more than 3,200 consumer complaints and recovered nearly $5 million on behalf of consumers. For more information about the Division of Insurance, visit DOI.NV.GOV or download the Division’s smartphone app NDOI Connect today in the Apple App Store and Google Play.