2017's tornado season is setting up to be the biggest on record: GEICO offers tips on how to prepare for a tornado

WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 1, 2017– So far this year we're at 368 tornadoes and counting as of March 2017 and the tornado season is just getting started. It's a record pace compared to 2016 with the big months yet to come. According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 79 tornados touched down in the U.S. on March 6, 2017 alone.

GEICO offers tips on how to prepare for a tornado to protect yourself, your family and your belongings:

  1. Understand tornado alerts – Tornado watch: Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.
  2. Put together a disaster supply kit – Gather important supplies such as battery-powered flashlights and radios, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, blankets, personal hygiene products, medicines and a spare change of clothes. Also consider specialty items for children, elderly and pets.
  3. Stock up on food and water – Always keep a supply of non-perishable food and water to last each family member at least a week. One gallon of water per person, per day is the suggested amount. Pack a manual can opener and other important utensils.
  4. Build an emergency communication and evacuation plan – Pick a safe place to meet in the event that your family is separated during a tornado. Determine how you will all get in touch to let people know everyone's safe. Look into smart phone apps that can communicate when cellular services are down.
  5. Designate a safe room within your home – Select a place in your home where you and your family will be most safe during a storm. The basement or an interior room on the main level typically provides the best protection against severe weather.
  6. Store important documents in a safe location – Consider investing in a safe box to store your important documents, legal papers, photos and other valuables.
  7. Create a home inventory – Keep an up-to-date inventory of all items in your home. Include photos of valuables such as electronics and jewelry. This may help speed up the claims process if there's damage.
  8. Review your insurance coverage – Contact your insurance carrier to find out if you're fully protected. Use your home inventory to help determine if you have purchased enough insurance.

For more information on how to stay safe when a tornado hits, visit GEICO's Catastrophe Center. Additionally 10 tornados myths: Fact vs. Fiction can be viewed at GEICO More. For a severe tornado event, GEICO's Catastrophe Response (CAT) Team will be on standby to assist. GEICO policyholders who need to report a loss can log on to the mobile app, GEICO's Claims Center, or call 1-800-841-3000 24 hours a day.

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company), the second-largest auto insurer in the U.S., was founded in 1936 and insures more than 28 million vehicles.

To make changes, report claims, print insurance cards and purchase additional products, policyholders can log into their car insurance policy, connect via GEICO Mobile, phone or by visiting a GEICO local agent.

Homeowners, renters, condo, flood, identity theft and life coverages are written through non-affiliated insurance companies and are secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. Commercial auto and personal umbrella coverages are also available.

Visit www.geico.com for a quote or to learn more.