Insurers' Group Offers Hurricane Readiness Tools

Homes and businesses in hurricane-prone areas can prepare now to reduce their exposure to losses, says the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, which represents more than 1,000 insurers.

Six brochures available from the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America will help homeowners and business owners prepare for hurricanes and respond after one has gone, leaving damage in its wake.

"It is easy to underestimate the risk we face, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a very active storm season with three to seven major hurricanes, and we recommend that homeowners, businesses and public policymakers take the necessary steps to ensure that everyone is prepared," the association states on its website. It says consumers can reduce their exposure to losses and make certain that they have adequate insurance coverage to recover by:

  • Reviewing their property insurance policies, especially the "declarations" page, which summarizes coverage that has been purchased.
  • Talking with the agent/insurer to make sure the right policies with adequate limits are secured.
  • Getting flood insurance, which is not included in standard homeowner's insurance policies but can be purchased through insurance agents from the National Flood Insurance Program administered by FEMA.
  • Ensuring they know the amount of their deductible, which is the amount of loss the homeowner must pay.
  • Buying insurance well in advance of a storm. NFIP has a 30-day waiting period before the policy is effective.
  • Preparing an inventory of items now to speed up claims processing after the storm.
  • Storing important documents where they will stay safe and dry.
  • Developing an emergency plan before the emergency; stocking emergency supplies, food, and water; and heeding warnings from local authorities.
  • Performing routine home maintenance now to avoid major repairs later.

PCIAA's brochures are its "Six Steps To Storm Safety" Series, including one that explains the seven most important features homeowners and business owners should inspect to ensure their structures are wind-resistant. Another brochure, titled "Three Ways In Three Days," describes three storm-proofing techniques that can easily be done in a weekend. "Steps Before And After A Storm" will help individuals stay safe and quickly return to daily life after a catastrophic event.

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