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Tornado Season Is Here, and Tornado Alley Is Changing: Here’s What You Need to Know

According to Scientific American, the area of the country known as “Tornado Alley” is shifting eastward, bringing damaging winds and extreme weather conditions to areas of the country that historically haven’t had to deal with such events, at least not at the intensity and frequency of recent years.

From 1950-1980, Arkansas and Oklahoma had been the epicenter of tornado hotspots, but since 1989, the largest concentration of tornado outbreaks have happened in Tennessee and Mississippi and regions in between.

And so far this year, Ohio is leading the nation in the number of tornadoes, registering 43 already as of April 18, 2024. On average, the state usually sees 21 tornadoes in a year.

As more and more tornado producing storms spin up across the midwest and eastern regions of the country, more and more people’s homes and property are at risk of damage from these events. 

Wind and hail from tornadic storms can really do a number on your personal property. Here’s what you need to know about various insurance policies and how you’re protected:

Tornadoes and Homeowners Insurance

Tornadoes can cause significant wind damage to homes, including roof damage, broken windows, and structural issues. Flying debris can cause extensive damage to homes, such as holes in walls and roofs, and the rain that often accompanies these kinds of storms can lead to flooding.

All of these powerful forces of nature can lead to loss of personal property, inside your home as well as the potential for damage to your house itself.

Most homeowners insurance covers damage from “windstorm peril,” but it’s important to know what is actually in your policy. Contact your local Wichert agent to find out whether your homeowners policy covers damage from extreme weather events like tornadoes.

Tornadoes and Renters Insurance

Similar to homeowners, renters are at risk of losing personal belongings in a tornado. Renter’s insurance can help cover the cost of replacing these items, and if your rental unit becomes uninhabitable due to tornado damage, it may cover the cost of temporary housing while repairs are being made.

Tornadoes and Auto Insurance

Debris from tornadoes can damage vehicles and crack or shatter windshields. Your comprehensive auto insurance usually covers tornado-related damage to your car, but double check with your insurance agent to make sure. If you have liability-only insurance or basic or state-minimum insurance, your policy may not cover damage to your vehicle in a windstorm, so ask your agent how you can best protect your vehicle.

Tornadoes and Boat, Motorcycle, RV, or ATV Insurance

Even if you aren’t out and about on your boat, motorcycle, or other recreational vehicle during an extreme weather event, your policies should cover your equipment. 

However, if you have a basic policy without comprehensive coverage, it’s possible your recreational vehicle will not be protected under these conditions. Some insurance policies may have exclusions and limitations that reduce or prohibit replacement or repairs, especially on older equipment or vehicles that are in poor condition. Check with your agent to determine how your policy is set up for your particular vehicles.

Ask Your Insurance Agent about Tornado Coverage

If you find yourself within the path of the increasingly powerful and shifting Tornado Alley, you should talk to your insurance agent to make sure that your personal property is covered. 

With the proper insurance in place, you can stop worrying about your property and focus on what matters most in the midst of a storm—getting your loved ones out of harm’s way and into a safe and secure location. If your home is in a region of the country where tornadic activity is on the rise, connect with your local, independent Wichert agent to evaluate your policies. We’ll make sure you have just the right amount of coverage to protect what matters.