New campaign encourages insurance checks

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As part of September’s National Disaster Preparedness month, Ready North Network has launched a public awareness campaign that encourages homeowners and renters to make sure they have adequate insurance coverage in case of fire, flooding, or other natural disasters.

The Duluth-area Ready North Network was formed in response to the 2012 flash floods that caused more than $100 million in damage throughout the Northland. The community-based network of organizations builds greater disaster resilience through preparedness activities. Ready North strengthens disaster recovery across the region by encouraging public agencies, nonprofits, and other organizations to work together.

“If anything they could do is make sure that their stocks are filled, such as food, batteries, chargers. Make sure you speak with neighbors in case you’re stuck and in case there’s a flood,” said Disaster Recovery Specialist Alejandro Mendoza. “You want to go see your neighbors and you need help. That would be a good resource to go to. You want to have community resilience.”

According to Ready North, two-thirds of disaster survivors find themselves underinsured, making them less able to recover. A major goal of the network is to educate homeowners and renters about critical questions they should ask their insurance carriers.

For homeowners, the following questions are recommended:

  • Will this policy cover a builder’s estimate to rebuild my home after a total loss?
  • Is my coverage customized for my assets (e.g. sump pump, shed, pool, trampoline)?
  • What will my annual premium be with different levels of deductibles?
  • What causes of loss are excluded?
  • Do you recommend that I buy flood insurance or an umbrella policy?
  • What discounts do you offer, and how do I qualify for them?

For renters, the following questions are recommended:

  • Will this policy cover the “replacement cost value” of my property if it gets damaged or destroyed?
  • How much will it cost to add flood insurance?
  • For how long will my temporary rent be covered if I have to move out after a fire or other loss?
  • Is there a dollar limit on temporary rent coverage?
  • What are the coverage limits in this policy on specific items such as electronics, jewelry, art, etc…?
  • Will this policy cover all of the residents of my household even if we are not legally related?
  • What is a deductible and how much will the cost go down if I choose a higher deductible?

“Insurance is a critical safeguard that helps families recover when disasters happen,” said Michelle Morris, Director of Community Impact at the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, one of the Ready North partners. “Together, with our public and nonprofit partners, Ready North helps people understand their risks as well as limit loss and damages in the event of disaster.”

This year, Ready North has launched a public service campaign to share these messages. Northland residents will see public service announcements on Twin Ports TV stations, as well as in print materials distributed at local events and throughout the community.

“What we’ve seen in 2012 and more recently is that floods happen, things get blocked, things flood basements get filled when you least expect it. So this particular week was a reminder that we need to pay attention and having National Preparedness Month come in the same time frame, having this PSA campaign with a little bit of humor and fun hopefully will edge people towards asking questions and getting the insurance they need,” said Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation Communications Specialist Karen Sunderman. “People with insurance have a like a much higher opportunity to recover from floods. It’s people who don’t have insurance that get left out of the recovery, and we want to make sure everybody is involved and everybody has a chance to have the best possible opportunity to thrive.”