Three Hurricane Prep Tips So You Won’t Get Blown Away

Hurricane season is quickly approaching! As we reach the 11th hour before the season officially begins June 1, the key question for coastal residents is have you prepared your family, home and finances for the devastating effects that are possible due to a storm.

Thankfully, forecasters are predicting another fairly calm season in 2015 with seven named storms, including three hurricanes and one that could develop into a major storm. However, the key word in that sentence is “predicting” because that is what they are – predictions – we never know for certain what Mother Nature has in store for us and it is better to be prepared for the worst rather than simply hoping for the best.

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) encourages coastal residents to use this time we call the “quiet before the storm” wisely and prepare now for hurricane season.

Tip #1: Prepare Your Family

Start by creating or updating your family’s personal emergency plan and include information about where to go and what to do if you are forced to evacuate. Take time to talk about practice your plan. It is also important to assemble a weatherproof emergency preparedness kit including a radio, flashlight, batteries, bottled water and basic first-aid supplies. Stay informed by purchasing a weather radio so you can track a storm’s progress even if power goes out. Make sure you have some cash on hand and at least a half tank of gas in your car in case an approaching storm makes a quick turn, knocking out power or forcing evacuations sooner than anticipated.

The following tips can help prepare you physically and financially for a major storm event.

Tip #2: Prepare Your Home

Have a plan for how to best prepare your property and if possible have the materials and tools needed to do so readily available. 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. If a storm does hit and you experience damage to your property, it is critical to contact your insurance agent as soon as possible. If it is safe to do so, make temporary repairs so that wind and rain does not cause further damage. Be careful that you do not fall victim to individuals preying on families who have suffered a loss. Unscrupulous third party companies often times will try to convince homeowners to sign over their insurance benefits in order to proceed with the repair work.

Tip #3: Prepare Your Finances

The best time to talk with your insurance agent or company is before you have a loss. Take a moment to speak with your insurer to make certain you have the right amount of coverage for your property and you understand how your policy works. Develop a home inventory which lists all of your home’s contents so you can quickly and easily account for all of your belongings and report the loss to your insurance company. Organize all of your important insurance documents in one place. Ask if you should consider purchasing flood insurance, as most homeowners’ policies do not cover flooding and it must be purchased as a separate policy.

As the start of the 2015 Hurricane Season draws nearer, PCI urges you to get ready now. Don’t wait until a major hurricane is lingering off the coast before you take action to protect your family and property. The insurance industry stands ready to help you before, during and after a catastrophic event so that you and your loved ones can return to normal life as quickly as possible.

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PCI promotes and protects the viability of a competitive private insurance market for the benefit of consumers and insurers. PCI is composed of nearly 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write more than $183 billion in annual premium, 35 percent of the nation's property casualty insurance. Member companies write 42 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 27 percent of the homeowners market, 32 percent of the commercial property and liability market and 34 percent of the private workers compensation market.

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Make sure you have enough insurance coverage for your property this hurricane season
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Update and practice your family’s emergency plan. Include info on where to go and what to do if you have to evacuate this hurricane season
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Coastal residents should use this time we call the “quiet before the storm” wisely and prepare now for hurricane season
Brooke Kelley-Hunt, PCI Director of Public Affairs