Insurers Offer Advice for Residents as Tropical Depression Harvey Quickly Approaches
AUSTIN, Texas – With heavy rain expected to accompany the tropical system approaching the Texas and Louisiana coast, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) encourages residents in the area to listen to emergency officials and take precautionary actions.
“Taking a few simple steps now to prepare your property could save you time and money in the recovery process,” said Joe Woods, PCI’s vice president of state government relations. “Torrential downpours can produce dangerous flooding, so if your home is near water or in a low-lying area, make sure you are prepared to seek higher ground. We also encourage policyholders to create an inventory of the contents in their home or business. These items can easily be videoed or documented with a smart phone.”
Proper precautionary measures should also include making sure you have your agent or insurance company’s contact information readily available and checking to see if you flood insurance.
“You will want to have your agent or insurance company’s phone number handy should your home, business or automobile be damaged, said Woods. “However, this is the time, before the storm hits, for residents to check with their insurer to see if they have flood insurance, since flood damage is not covered by the standard homeowners policy and there is a 30-day waiting period before flood coverage goes into effect. If you do not have flood insurance, additional coverage can be purchased through the National Insurance Program.”
Prepare your Property
- Review your property insurance policy, especially the “declarations” page, and check whether your policy pays replacement costs, or actual cash value for a covered loss.
- Inventory your household items, and photograph or videotape them for further documentation. Keep this information and your insurance policies in a safe place.
- Keep the name, address and claims-reporting telephone number of your insurer and agent in a safe and easily accessible place.
- Protect your property by covering all windows with plywood or shutters, moving vehicles into the garage when possible and placing grills and patio furniture indoors.
- Keep all receipts for any repairs so your insurance company can reimburse you.
- Check with your insurance adjuster for referrals to professional restoration, cleaning and salvage companies if additional assistance is needed.
PCI Flooding Tips:
- Shovel or scrape mud off walls, floors and furniture, then hose from the ceiling down before the mud dries.
- To prevent mold and odors, clean walls and floors with diluted chlorine bleach.
- Electricity and water make for a dangerous combination. Take the proper precautions to avoid electric shock.
- Dry wood furniture outdoors away from direct sunlight.
- Use public water only after it has been declared safe by an authorized official.
Recovering from flooding is always a challenging task but there are resources available to help consumers. The Federal Emergency Management Agency can be contacted at 800-621-3362 or www.fema.gov and consumers who have flood insurance policies through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) can contact either their flood insurance agent or the NFIP itself at (888) 379-9531 or www.floodsmart.gov.
The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) member company Toll-Free Policyholder Claim Phone Numbers.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can be contacted at 800-621-3362 or www.fema.gov