Tornadoes can happen throughout the year, but peak tornado season begins in March and runs through May. These storms can affect all of Georgia, but trends show the northern half of our state is the most susceptible. Homes close to a tornado are often damaged or destroyed by wind, rain, and flying debris

It is very important to educate yourself and be prepared for tornados. Becoming aware of your vulnerability and what actions you should take both before and after a tornado hits can help reduce its effects. It is a good idea to look over your existing policies in preparation for severe weather.

In addition, Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner offers homeowners the following tips for this tornado season:

  • Make a list of your valuables, furniture, electronics, etc. An electronic record uploaded to the cloud is always a good idea.
  • Decide whether you would prefer actual cash value coverage or replacement cost coverage. Actual cash coverage pays the current value of an item that may be lost or damaged, while replacement cost coverage pays for brand new items.
  • Stay informed; listen to a NOAA weather radio to check local forecasts and news reports regularly.
  • Keep a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio along with extra batteries.
  • Determine in advance where you will take shelter during a tornado. Basements and storm cellars are the best choices. If no underground shelter is available, choose an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
  • If local authorities issue a tornado watch, remain alert for approaching storms, watch the sky, and stay tuned to the radio or television. If local authorities issue a tornado warning, take shelter immediately.
  • If you’re in your car, get out immediately and find safe shelter or lie flat in a ditch. Do not take shelter under an overpass or a bridge.
  • Flying debris causes most injuries and fatalities, so use your arms to protect your head and neck.
  • Additional safety tips can be found here.

After a tornado
Heavy rain is often a part of tornadoes and windstorms. The longer your home is exposed to water, the more damage you’ll see to your roof, ceiling, walls, and floors, as well as any personal belongings you have inside. It’s important to take some steps to protect yourself and your property from any further damage after a tornado.

  • Board up broken windows and doors.
  • Cover roof damage with tarps or plywood and remove debris.
  • Move any wet items to a dry area.
  • If possible, place any damaged items in a safe, secure area where they can be inspected later.
  • Save receipts for any temporary repair expenses.
  • Cover broken car windows with tarps or plastic sheeting.

Sources: Office of the Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner & Safeco Insurance