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Consumer Insight

Prepare for Tornadoes

May 22, 2023

Prepare for Tornadoes

Tornadoes can happen at any time. No matter where you live, now is the time to prepare and reduce your risks.  

Stay informed. Monitor local media and alert systems. Know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. A tornado watch means weather conditions are favorable for a tornado. A tornado warning means the weather radar spotted a tornado, and you should be prepared to take shelter immediately. 

Keep a weather radio in your home. Outdoor sirens are meant to warn you when you are outside. A weather radio will alert you if the power goes out or you can’t receive other types of warnings. Check for more information about how to stay safe before, during, and after a tornado.  

Maintain proper insurance coverage for your home. New construction and renovations increase the value of your home and may increase the cost of replacing damaged property. Check with your insurance agent or insurance company representative every year to ensure you have the right amount of coverage. 

Maintain your yard. Trim and remove weak trees that could break during high winds and damage your home. Secure patio furniture and other loose items, or put them in garages/sheds so these items and debris don’t damage your home.  

Make a plan. Plan how you will contact your family members. Plan where you will meet if you get separated. Know the safe places in your home to take shelter. Go to a basement or storm cellar if you have one. Otherwise, take cover in a small interior room on the lowest level. 

Create a home inventory. Go through each room of your home, and write down and take pictures or videos of all your belongings before severe weather strikes. The NAIC's free Home Inventory App will help you group the things you own by category, scan barcodes for accuracy, and upload and export photos. The App also provides disaster preparedness advice and helps you file a claim. Having a home inventory helps reduce stress when filing a claim, should you need to file one. Talk to your agent or insurance company’s representative to be sure you have enough coverage for the items you own. 

Prepare a go-bag. Keep medications, important documents, and essential items in a go-bag in case you need to be away from your home for a few days. You can find information about preparing a go-bag in the NAIC’s go-bag tool


About the National Association of Insurance Commissioners

As part of our state-based system of insurance regulation in the United States, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) provides expertise, data, and analysis for insurance commissioners to effectively regulate the industry and protect consumers. The U.S. standard-setting organization is governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer reviews, and coordinate regulatory oversight. NAIC staff supports these efforts and represents the collective views of state regulators domestically and internationally.