Homeowners Unprepared for Weather

It may be too soon to tell what the insured losses will be from the devastating weather-related storms in 2012, but the thousands of homeowners and business owners affected by the storms might tell you that they wished they had created an inventory of their possessions.

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), more than half of Americans don't have a home inventory of their possessions, creating the possibility that they have inadequate home insurance coverage in case of a property claim.

The survey, conducted in February 2012, revealed 59 percent of consumers have not made a list or inventory of their possessions. Of those individuals with a home inventory, 48 percent do not have receipts; 27 percent do not have photos of their property; and 28 percent do not have a back-up copy of the inventory outside the home. Additionally, 59 percent of people with inventories have not updated their inventories in more than a year, meaning new purchases and gifts may not be covered.

"Violent weather events affected approximately 80 percent of the nation's population over the past six years. These storms have left widespread destruction in their wake," says Kevin McCarty, NAIC president and Florida insurance commissioner. "Creating a detailed inventory of your possessions is one the best ways to ensure you have the right amount of homeowners or renters insurance for you and your family."

Last year alone, severe weather disasters across the country inflicted more than $43 billion in damage.

On average, home contents are reimbursed only up to 50 percent of the home's insured value, i.e., $50,000 to replace the contents of a home insured for $100,000, reports the NAIC, which offers consumers an free online application that can be used to create an official inventory for safe-keeping.

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