Ask Before Disaster-proofing Your Home

Physician's Money Digest, December 2005, Volume 12, Issue 16

Just because you don't live in theTornado Belt, near Hurricane Alley, oralong the San Andreas fault does notmean your home is not susceptible to anatural disaster. In fact, nearly 75% ofhomes in the United States experienceflooding, hurricanes, earthquakes, and/orhail, according to the Federal EmergencyManagement Agency. With four majorhurricanes battering the United States thisyear alone in addition to the deadliest tornadoof 2005 ravaging Indiana this pastNovember, it's clear that emergency preparednessis more important than ever,but at what cost? According to Bankrate.com, your homeowners insurance premiumcan help you to decide the affordabilityand cost-effectiveness of disaster-proofingyour home. It never hurts to askyour insurance company just how muchyou would save by making a particular improvement.For example, if you live in ahail-prone area, it may be a good idea toroof with flexible hail-resistant shingles.Although the up-front investment maycost an additional $1500, your new roofcould pay itself off within 3 years, as onehomeowner in Texas found out when hisinsurance carrier reduced his premium by$500 per year. Keep in mind, though, thatdiscounts are on a state-to-state basis.According to the Wall Street Journal, StateFarm Insurance offers a discount for impact-proof roofs in 21 states. Unless youlive in an area that experiences frequentand damaging hail, you may be better offinvesting your money in other homeimprovements.