We have unfortunately been hypnotized watching Harvey, Irma, and now Napa wildfires inflict catastrophic damage to helpless property owners. The disruption and the emotional damage are difficult to fathom. It will take years to recover.

But these natural disasters are a test, the ultimate test of whether an insurance agent did a good job of evaluating the exposure and recommending coverage. It is also a test of whether the chosen insurance company provided the needed coverage and more important provided the dynamic response that these disasters require. The answers to these questions should be a guide when you choose an agent and insurance company going forward.

Implementing the proper insurance coverage starts with the agent. The process begins with a site visit by the agent of the property to be insured. No two properties are built or furnished the same. No two owners have the same perspective on how they want their insurance to perform. Knowledge is critical in proper coverage. For the insured, it is knowledge about the policy and policy limits. For the agent, it is the knowledge of exactly who and what needs to be insured.

The next part of the process is the response of the recommended insurance carrier. Very few claims are a result of a natural disaster, but a disaster is the true test of first response for your insurer. Rapid response is critical in putting minds at ease. Delays only add insult to injury.

And finally there are coverage limits. Limits are identified in a number of shapes and sizes. Look at the total amount of insurance on the home, is that enough to rebuild? Does the insurance carrier write a check for that limit, or does it require you to make a list of every item to be replaced before they will reimburse you? It can be an impossible task if your home has been reduced to ash.

Natural disasters put insurance to the ultimate test, and their final grade should be used as a guide for how you chose to insure in the future.


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