Consumer Connection: Insurance Needs for Spring Storms

Sonya Sellmeyer

By Sonya Sellmeyer, Consumer Advocacy Officer for the Iowa Insurance Division

Spring storms, characterized by heavy rainfall, thunderstorms, and even tornadoes, pose significant risks to homes and properties.  From water damage to wind-related destruction, these seasonal hazards can lead to substantial financial losses.  According to the Insurance Information Institute, natural catastrophe losses in the United States during 2023 topped $79.6 billion.  

A fundamental step in preparing for spring storms is a review of your homeowners policy and initiating a conversation with your licensed insurance agent to scrutinize the coverage.  This review should encompass the types and amounts of coverage in place, verifying they align with the potential risks associated with spring storms, and ensuring an understanding of the policy terms, exclusions, and limitations.  

For optimal protection, homeowners should explore additional coverage options beyond the basic replacement cost policy.  Annual inflation adjustment is one consideration to ensure coverage keeps pace with the rising costs of materials and labor. 

Extended replacement cost is another valuable option to consider. This coverage goes beyond the limits specified in the policy, providing an extra layer of financial protection by extending the dwelling coverage by 10-50% of the cost of rebuilding your home.  In the wake of a severe storm, where rebuilding costs may surpass initial estimates, extended replacement cost coverage can be crucial.

Building code upgrades represent coverage that address the need to comply with materials. Spring storms often expose vulnerabilities in structures, prompting the need for repairs to meet current safety standards. This coverage ensures that the financial burden of these mandatory upgrades does not fall solely on the homeowner.

Review the policy for the coverage of your home’s roof. Insurance companies may change the coverage allowed under your policy as the roof ages.  For example, the actual cash value of your roof declines as it ages, and this coverage may only cover a portion of your claim based on the roof’s age and condition.  Check your declarations page and policy for roof coverage information.  

Damage caused by flooding is often a standard exclusion in home, renter, and property insurance policies.  Water and sewer backup coverage is different from flood insurance.  While some homeowners policies include these provisions, neither are automatically included as part of a regular homeowners policy and will need a special endorsement to provide coverage.  

Read all letters and policy renewal information received from the insurance company, as these may contain policy and coverage changes.  Verify any changes in coverage for exterior surfaces such as siding, gutters, downspouts, soffit, fascia, and windows due to cosmetic versus functional damage.  Call your agent if you have questions on any coverage changes.  

A spring check up of your homeowners policy, and a collaboration with your insurance agent is pivotal in ensuring that the right amount and types of coverage are in place to protect against the financial aftermath of spring storms.  

The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.