Insurance Information Institute tracks your home's inventory before tornado, other disaster strikes

CLEVELAND - If disaster struck your home, would you be prepared?

Insurance companies are still handling claims from Hurricane Sandy that hit northeast Ohio last fall. There are steps you can take to make the insurance claims process smooth.

While most consumers focus on the price of their insurance premium, you really need to read the fine print to make sure you're covered for all disasters.

"I just feel like it's one disaster after another," said northeast Ohio resident Deatera Peters.

The disaster in Oklahoma left many homeowners with nothing. Their homes leveled and many belongings blew away.

"Just take pictures and say how much everything is worth," Peters said.

Peters took an inventory for the insurance company, but many don't require it. There are apps and websites like, Know Your Stuff, that make it easy to keep take an inventory.

The Insurance Information Institute stores the information online so it's not lost if your home is damaged.

"The burden of proof is always on the homeowner. What did you have? And what can you show us?" independent insurance agent John Katzbach Jr. said.

Katzbach said you also need to make sure you have enough coverage. Standard policies do not cover earthquake, flood and sewer damage

No matter what coverage you have, you may pay more even though this disaster did not happen in Ohio.

"Just like with the Sandy storm it had an impact on rates but also underwriting," Katzbach said.

Deductibles are also increasing with all these storms.

Most homeowner policies are now $1,000, and not $500. Some insurance companies are testing "percentage-based" deductibles. That's where you pay a percentage of the loss or the value of your home.

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