Tornado near Kentucky city. How to Prepare for a Kentucky Tornado.

As a result of its location in Hoosier Alley, storm season in Kentucky runs from April to May. During this time, an average of 21 tornadoes occur each year. If a tornado strikes your home, are you fully prepared?

A Kentucky independent insurance agent can help you prepare for a tornado by securing the proper home insurance and other coverages you may need. Here's how you can prepare your home for a tornado, including finding the right insurance policies.

What Is a Tornado?

A tornado is more than just an insane amount of wind swirling around. By definition, a tornado is a mobile, destructive vortex of violently rotating winds having the appearance of a funnel-shaped cloud and advancing beneath a large storm system. 

Tornadoes can be difficult to see when they start, which is why experts commonly issue tornado watches and warnings. It's important to know the difference between these two terms:

  • A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible.
  • A tornado WARNING means a tornado is already occurring or will occur soon. 

When a tornado watch is issued, it's time to start preparing. Once the warning comes, it's time to get to your designated safe spot and wait out the storm. 

16 Essential Steps to Help Protect You from Kentucky Tornadoes

To best be prepared for a Kentucky tornado, you need to know what to do before,  during, and after the event. Safety is the Number 1 priority in all stages. Fortunately there are things you can do in each stage to protect your home, family, and belongings. 

What to do before a tornado 

  1. Know your insurance coverages: Check with your independent insurance agent to see what type of coverage you have against tornado damage. You may need to adjust your home or auto insurance policy, and you cannot do so at the last minute.
  2. Create an emergency preparedness kit: Prepare everything you and your family would need for 72 hours. This should include necessary medications, documents, food, and water. 
  3. Have an evacuation plan: Sit down with your family and anyone else living in the home to create an evacuation plan. This can include things to grab, what is okay to leave behind, safe ways to exit the home, where to shelter, and where to meet if you're separated. Don't forget about a plan for any pets or livestock. 
  4. Tune in to the radio and news: Listen and watch for those tornado watch and warning announcements. This can help you understand how much time you may have before the tornado hits. 
  5. Move to a safe shelter: If a tornado is coming, move yourself, your family, and your pets to an underground safe space.
  6. Look up: Keep an eye on the skies and how they change. Dark and ominous skies typically mean bad weather is on the way.

What to do during a tornado

  1. Seek shelter immediately: If you're outdoors, immediately seek shelter in a basement or sturdy building. Even if you're indoors, you want to make sure you're secure somewhere safe. If you're in your vehicle, drive to the closest shelter if possible or exit your vehicle to find a safe place. 
  2. Avoid flying debris: Try to stay away from structures and debris that can shatter and fly. This includes windows, doors, outside walls, and flying debris. 
  3. Follow weather announcements: You can sign up for Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) to be notified when dangerous weather is heading your way. You can also follow EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, or local alerting systems for guidance.
  4. Cover your head: Use blankets, furniture, and anything else you can find to protect your head from potential falling structures or debris. 
  5. Stay put until it's safe to move: Even though tornadoes do not have aftershocks like earthquakes, you do not want to leave your secure shelter until you're 100% certain it is safe to do so.

What to do after a tornado

  1. Update on your safety: Once it is safe to do so, you can alert your loved ones that you're safe. If you were separated from your family, you can head to your designated meeting spot or let them know where to find you. 
  2. Beware of your surroundings: It's likely that the tornado caused downed power lines, puddles, glass, and debris. Take caution when maneuvering around inside and outside your home. 
  3. Document the damage: Take photos and videos of any damage that your property sustained. This will be of value if you end up filing an insurance claim.
  4. Speak with your agent: Call your independent insurance agent to begin the claim process if you have significant damage from the tornado.
  5. Continue to be safe: Whether you're beginning to clean up your home or simply gathering your things to evacuate the area, wear appropriate clothing for broken glass, mold, and other potential aftermaths from the tornado. 

How Much Damage Do Kentucky Tornadoes Cause?

Every year Kentucky tornadoes cause property damage, crop damage, and sometimes fatalities. This damage can range from several hundred thousand dollars to several million dollars. The chart below gives an overview of the cost of Kentucky tornado damage over the last 10 years.


Year# of TornadoesDirect InjuryDirect FatalityProperty Damage
2022 16 0 0 $693,000
2021 63 617 74 $1,630,000
2020 26 0 0 $4,088,000
2019 30 2 0 $4,745,000
2018 39 10 1 $11,941,000
2017 29 2 0 $4,890,000
2016 28 15 0 $5,964,000
2015 17 3 0 $770,000
2014 29 1 0 $1,214,000
2013 44 9 0 $6,213,000
2012 56 218 22 $150,884,000
2011 70 14 0 $10,655,000

What Type of Tornado Insurance Is Important in Kentucky?

Having the right insurance can help you recover from a tornado. If your home insurance and auto insurance are set up properly, you can get reimbursement for the damage that is caused. 

Best home insurance coverages for tornadoes

  • Dwelling insurance: Pays for damage to the structure of your home, including garages, detached sheds, decks and patios, built-in appliances, flooring, heating, and cooling systems, etc.
  • Contents insurance: Pays for damage to your personal property, including furniture, electronics, rugs, silverware, lawnmowers, and similar items. 
  • Additional living expenses: Pays for living expenses like daily meals, hotel rooms, extra gas mileage, and more if you're temporarily forced to live elsewhere.
  • Endorsements: You may benefit from endorsements such as for your valuables or extended replacement-cost dwelling coverage for added coverage. Your agent can help you determine if you need endorsements.

Best car insurance coverage for tornadoes

  • Comprehensive car insurance: This covers the cost to repair or replace your vehicle if it is damaged or totaled by a non-collision event such as a tornado, hailstorm, or theft. Comprehensive coverage is typically not required by law, but may be required by a lender or leasing company. This is the only car insurance that will pay for tornado damage to your vehicle.

A Kentucky independent insurance agent can help you get the coverages you need to be fully protected from tornadoes. 

Why Work with an Independent Insurance Agent?

Preparing your home and belongings for a tornado takes preparation long before a potential tornado comes. This includes assessing your insurance coverage to make sure you're properly covered. A Kentucky independent insurance agent is the place to start to get protection.

Agents work for you, not a company, so they have your best interest in mind. They'll shop multiple insurance quotes to present you with options to choose from. If a tornado devastates your home, they will help you file a claim and utilize the insurance they've secured for you. Protect yourself, your loved ones, and your valuables by working with a local agent. 

Article reviewed by | Paul Martin

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