By John Voket
In our previous report, your RIS Consumer Confidant introduced some stormy predictions regarding the upcoming and potentially severe hurricane season. According to Chicago-based Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), leading weather researchers are forecasting an active hurricane season.
With that in mind, PCI spokesman Chris Hackett provides homeowners these tips to help protect property and assets from becoming a storm casualty:
1. Inventory household items now to speed up claims processing after the storm – photograph or videotape them for further documentation. Keep this information and all insurance policies in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box.
2. Keep a copy of insurance policies and other important papers with them in a watertight package, along with contact info for you insurance company and agent.
3. Develop an emergency plan – emergency planners suggest discussing hazards that could affect families and consider a home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind. Determine escape routes from the home and establish a meeting place. Stock non-perishable emergency supplies and a disaster supply kit with enough food and water for three to seven days. Listen carefully to local authorities and take the necessary precautions to protect life, safety and property. If given an order to evacuate because of threatening weather conditions, do so. Contact a friend or family member and give that person your contact information. Remember to shut off the home’s water and electricity and to lock all doors and windows.
4. Perform routine home maintenance now to avoid major repairs later. Mitigation is a critical component in reducing the amount of damage that may occur when a hurricane or tropical storm makes landfall. Most structural problems and weaknesses can also be identified and corrected before major damage occurs.
5. Protect property by covering all windows with plywood or shutters, moving vehicles into the garage when possible and placing grills and patio furniture indoors. Make sure watercrafts are stored in a secure area, like a garage or covered boat dock.
For more information, visit www.pciaa.net.