As most Florida residents are probably aware, June 1st was the official start of Hurricane Season. Although there isn’t anything we can do to prevent a big storm from striking, there are ways to help mitigate the subsequent troubles that arise.
First and foremost, locate your hazard insurance policy and go over the coverages in detail with your Insurance Agent. Discuss your total replacement cost and confirm that the coverage is sufficient to totally rebuild your home. Additionally, you’ll want to verify a couple things before you could potentially need to use the policy:
1) You want to be sure that there is hurricane (wind) coverage included – there are very few reasons that it would be excluded on your policy, but better safe than sorry when a simple phone call can confirm the coverage.
2) Verify your home insurance policy is currently active – policies occasionally lapse/cancel for unforeseen reasons.
3) We also recommend that you purchase a flood insurance policy for your home. Coverage for flooding is not automatically included in your policies and the premium for a preferred policy would be no more than $365/year.
4) Get the number to call if you need to file a claim so you can get the process started as soon as possible after the damage.
5) Also, with Florida’s insurance industry being so volatile, talk to your agent about your insurance company’s financial strength and claim’s paying history.
You can also take a few basic precautions around your home to help diminish the potential wind damage:
1) Trim trees and overhanging limbs from your property to prevent damage from them falling
2) If you have storm shutters, use them! (If not, board up windows if expecting a direct hit)
3) Remove any debris from your rain gutters
4) Make sure that your property’s exterior is secure (lawn furniture, toys, bikes, etc)
5) Unplug electronics
Emergency Preparedness kit basics:
2) Bottled water
3) Battery-operated TV or radio and extra batteries
4) Baby and pet supplies
5) Cereals, canned food (pull-open containers), dried fruit/nuts, vitamins, required medication
7) First aid kit and hand sanitizer
Other Storm tips:
1) Make sure your gas tank never drops below half-tank minimum when there is any threat of a storm.
2) Purchase a very sturdy, fire-proof safe for your most important or sentimental items.
3) In case of a major loss, it is always a good idea to take pictures of the more valuable personal items in your home so there won’t be any question regarding your contents.
4) Keep cash on hand.
5) Assemble the items in your Emergency kit in an easy to carry container
6) Injuries are very common in a storm’s aftermath, so use precaution around debris, damaged property, or downed power lines, even when the storm is over.
7) Insurance Institute video on Hurricane Preparedness: http://www2.iii.org/video/hurricane-and-disaster-preparedness.html