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Are You Prepared For Another Devastating Hurricane?

2013-06-25
By: Advocate Brokerage

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Storm Damage along the New Jersey coast from Hurricane Sandy

Photo credit: U.S. Government

Hurricane season is here again, starting as of June 1 and threatening again to be a bad one.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued an advisory that we are heading into an “active” hurricane season with as many as 13 to 20 named storms. Seven to 11 are likely to strengthen into a hurricane.

Many policyholders were caught off guard by Hurricane Sandy last October.  It was the largest hurricane on record, and caused an estimated $68 billion in damage, second only to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  In some parts of the country of the country it was downgraded and re-named Superstorm Sandy – but the damage was not downgraded.

Don’t wait until it is too late to make sure that you have the necessary coverage to protect your property in the event of another big storm.

Now is the time to sit down with your insurance professional and review the following:

  • Determine if the deductible on your policy makes sense for your needs.  An independent insurance broker can help you make this determination.
  • Have you made any changes to your home? If you needed to renovate after Hurricane Sandy has this increased the value of your home?  Make sure that you have enough coverage not only to cover the replacement costs for your home, but also to cover the cost of living somewhere else while your home is being repaired.
  • Get flood insurance.  Even though your home may not be in a flood prone area, Hurricane Sandy provided a valuable lesson that everyone should have flood insurance. Your insurance agent can advise you about purchasing flood insurance, or visit FloodSmart.gov.
  • Do an inventory of your home and take photos of all valuable items.  Discuss with your insurance professional if there are items, such as jewelry, that require additional coverage.  Make sure that you take this inventory with you if you need to vacate your home, or store it on Internet site such as iCloud or Dropbox that you can retrieve from anywhere.
  • Do you work from home or own a small business?  Make sure that your business is protected in the event of storm damage. Have all the documents pertaining to your business with you if you need to evacuate.
  • Prepare for a storm in advance by checking your roof for possible leaks and having plywood in advance to cover windows.
  • Make sure that you have a check list of all the items you will need if you have to leave your home.  These include your checkbook, driver’s license, credit cards, cash, social security cards, birth certificate and other forms and documents providing ownership/identity.

We all learned valuable lessons from Hurricane Sandy, which meteorologists say was not even a full-fledged hurricane when it hit the tri-state area. Now is the time to sit down with your insurance advisor to make sure your property and its contents are protected in the event of a storm.  Even a small hurricane like Sandy can be a “superstorm” ­–  and wreak havoc on your home.

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