With Hurricane Florence, Helene, and Isaac on the way, it’s time to discuss how you can prepare for the season. These are a few tips I find handy if you find yourself in the path of a storm.
1. Know Who Your Agent Is
It’s more common, than not, that homeowners are not aware of who their servicing agent is. Reason being? You may own multiple properties, changed your broker a few times, or can’t seem to locate any paperwork. It’s important to know where your policies are serviced, and collect any contact information as well as procedures to submit claims. Get your hands on a good phone number or e-mail to submit your claim in the event that your property suffers damage.
2. Check Your Coverage
So, you’ve found your policies. Is the coverage in force? Is it adequate? Make sure to review your policies with your broker to ensure there are no gaps or blind spots. Verify that all of your policies are paid up to date and active. This is important to take care of way before the storm – why? Well, most companies issue a binding moratorium that prohibits policyholders from making any changes to their coverage in anticipation of a catastrophic storm. Be proactive and make sure you’re covered!
3. Evacuation Plan
Know where to go! Depending on the size of the storm, you may be ordered to evacuate. You should know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and plan ahead where you and your loved ones will stay. To find this information, contact your local emergency management agency for more information.
4. Hurricane-proof Your Home
Strong winds can cause major damage to your property. Below are some things you can do around your home prior to hurricane season to keep your property safe.
• Trim overhanging tree limbs and damaged trees
• Secure loose rain gutters and clear any clogged areas to prevent water damage
• Invest in a generator
• If you are in an area prone to flooding, move items to a second floor or a higher location to prevent water damage.
5. Stock Emergency Supplies
Make sure you have plenty of water and food, as well as stocking up on these useful items:
• Wrench or Pliers (for turning of utilities if needed)
• First Aid Kit
• Personal Hygiene products
• Sleeping bags
• Solar Phone/Smart Device Chargers
6. Take Inventory, and Photos
Keeping track of your items and maintaining a home inventory list can help make it easier to assess your insurance coverage and needs. It can also facilitate the claims process if any of your property is damaged by a covered loss as a result of a hurricane. Your inventory list should note each item and its value. Keep all receipts for big items such as jewelry and furs (typically more expensive items should be specifically scheduled on your policy). It’s also suggested that you take photos around your home, to show the condition of your property prior to damage suffered as a result of a hurricane.
Following these tips could protect your family and your property, as well as prevent substantial financial loss in the event of a hurricane. For more tips, make sure to visit the National Hurricane Center at www.nhc.noaa.gov. Stay safe this season!
Opinions expressed in this article are solely the author’s opinion, not intended to provide the reader with legal or any other professional advice. Should you need advice or opinion, consult with a qualified professional to address your specific needs.