Is Your Insurance Ready for Hurricane Season?
With Tropical Storm Colin arriving at our Florida coastline earlier than we often see storms, we are reminded that hurricane season is upon us. For the past 11 years, Florida has avoided hurricanes and the Tampa Bay area has not received a direct hit in 21 years. While it may be easy to become complacent, it isn’t whether a hurricane will hit Florida, but when.
There are many things that you can do to prepare yourself and your home for the hurricane season, and reviewing your insurance policy should be one of them.
Protect Your Home by Making A Comprehensive Hurricane Plan
The best time to prepare for the hurricane is before one is looming overhead. Don’t wait until one is already brewing in the Atlantic to begin.
Read Your Insurance Policy
The only way to know if you are adequately protected is to know what you are covered for. Read your policy carefully and make notes of any concerns you have. Verify that your coverage is up to date, that coverage is adequate for living expenses and valuables, and whether your coverage includes floods or has additional storm deductibles. If you have any questions about your coverage, direct them to your insurance carrier.
Prepare Your Home
Take a walk around your home, inside and outside, and determine what will need to be done when a storm is approaching. Make plans for where you will move your lawn furniture, bbqs, potted plants, and anything else that could blow away or cause damage. Locate your storm shutters, verify they are in good working condition, and know how to install them. If you don’t own storm shutters, now is the time to make the investment. Determine how much you will need for supplies and purchase them ahead of time. Ensure you have enough water, canned food, first aid supplies, batteries, and flashlights to be comfortable during the time that power may be out or roads may be closed. Trim trees to help keep them from breaking or falling down during a storm.
Make a Home Inventory List
An up-to-date inventory will be invaluable to you should your home become damaged or destroyed in a storm. Going room to room, write down all your personal items and keep the information in a spreadsheet. In addition to your list, create video or photographic evidence of your personal items. This information can help you recover quickly from the effects of a hurricane and verify your personal property easily.
Separate and Protect Important Documentation
Collect any important documentation, including legal paperwork, insurance policies, home inventory listing, as well as names and contact information for your insurance agent, lawyer, friends, and family. Keep one copy of the information with you, in the event that you will need to reach out to someone during or after the storm. Additional copies should be kept safe in another location, preferably a safety deposit box.
Know Your Evacuation Plan
While an evacuation may not be necessary, be prepared for it. Learn the best evacuation routes and plan a meeting place at least 50 miles inland in case you and other family members become separated. Don’t neglect to plan for any pets, and remember to pack first aid kits, batteries, contact information, and important documentation with you for your trip.
The Hurricane Has Passed. Now What?
The hurricane is over and it’s time to determine what damage has been done. For those lucky enough to come through the storm with minimal or no damage, it’s simply time to celebrate and prepare for the next one.
For those with damage, it’s time to file a claim with your insurance carrier. Because you took the time to prepare for the storm, you are better prepared and informed on what is needed and what will be covered. Reach out to your insurance agent and file a claim. Don’t delay in filing, as many policies require claims to be submitted within a specific period of time. Provide any necessary documentation, including your home inventory list and videos, and insurance policy information. Make sure to avoid common mistakes seen in hurricane insurance claims.
While Florida has been lucky for the past decade when it comes to hurricanes, continue to be prepared for storm damage by making a hurricane plan, reading your home insurance policy, and preparing yourself ahead of time.
If you need more information or help, please schedule your free consultation with insurance claim attorneys. We will evaluate your case to see how we may be able to help you receive the money you deserve.