Hurricane season is here. This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting an above-average season, with 14 – 21 named storms. Of those, 6 – 10 have the possibility of becoming hurricanes. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) encourages everyone to take the time to prepare their homes and their families for hurricanes, so they aren't left picking up the pieces. 

Hurricanes can make us feel powerless. While we can't control when they happen, but homeowners can take many different precautions to protect their homes when hurricane season is in full swing.  

THE NOAA OFFERS THESE THEMES FOR HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS:

1. Determine Your Risk

Determine Your Risk
Hurricanes are not just a coastal problem. Impacts from wind and water can be felt hundreds of miles inland, and significant impacts can occur regardless of the storm’s strength.

2. Develop an Evacuation Plan

Develop an Evacuation Plan
Find out if you live in an evacuation zone. Plan where to go and how to get there.

3. Assemble Disaster Supplies

Assemble Disaster Supplies
Make sure to have at least 3 days of food and water for you and your family. Electricity could be out for a lengthy amount of time, so pack batteries and flashlights as well.

4. Get an Insurance Checkup

Get an Insurance Checkup
One of the most important steps you can take is to review your homeowner’s insurance policy. Make sure your policy is up to date and if you have recently moved, make sure your policy covers the home you currently live in. Also be sure to make changes to your policy that reflect any upgrades or additions you may have added to your home in the time since you purchased it. Don't forget to ask your insurer if your policy also covers building materials used by contractors and other damage repair providers as they fix up your home.

5. Strengthen Your Home

Strengthen Your Home
Make sure your home is in good repair and up to local building code specifications.

6. Help Your Neighbor

Help Your Neighbor
Rely on your neighbors before and after a disaster.

7. Complete a Written Plan

Complete a Written Plan
Take the time now to write down your plan in the event of a hurricane. If you wait until a hurricane is heading your way, the odds are that you will be under duress and may make the wrong decisions.

 

In the aftermath of a hurricane, shady contractors make their way into neighborhoods, looking to take advantage of traumatized and distracted disaster victims. While most contractors are reputable and honest, some aren't and NICB offers these tips to help homeowners avoid being scammed:  

If you didn't request it, reject it. Be wary of anyone door to door salespeople making their way through neighborhoods offering unsolicited repairs to your home during relief efforts.  

Research any contractors you come across. Check the Better Business Bureau or state attorney general’s office to see if the firm has any outstanding complaints.  

Never pay for work up front. Don’t pay for anything until you have talked to your insurer and have a written contract that clearly details important information such as prices for labor and materials, as well clean-up procedures and estimated start and finish dates.  

For more information on disaster fraud, click here

Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800.TEL.NICB (800.835.6422) or submitting a form on our website.

About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to combatting and preventing insurance crime through Intelligence, Analytics, and Operations; Education and Crime Prevention; and Strategy, Policy, and Advocacy. The NICB is supported by more than 1,200 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $582 billion in insurance premiums in 2021, or more than 82% of the nation's property-casualty insurance. That includes more than 96% of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more, visit www.nicb.org.