Alabama Department of Insurance, Jennifer Bowen, June 1, 2023
Hurricane season starts June 1. While the peak of the season doesn’t hit until late summer and early fall, now is the time to be sure you’re prepared should a storm take aim at Alabama’s coast.
Before a storm hits, consider the following tips from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Make an Emergency Supply Kit
Make sure you have enough bottled water for both people and pets, a first aid kit, flashlights, a battery-powered radio, non-perishable food items, blankets, clothing, prescription drugs, eyeglasses, personal hygiene supplies and a small amount of cash or traveler’s checks. Gas up or charge vehicles ahead of time in case of a power outage.
Create a Home Inventory
To make the claims process easier, create a home inventory of your belongings. Include identifying information about your possessions (brand name, price, purchase date, model, serial number and receipts) and take photos. The NAIC has created a free smartphone app that you can download here that will help you create a database of your possessions. The app is available for iPhone and Android. A simple-to-use printable home inventory checklist is also available.
If you don't have time to create a full list of the items in your home, consider videotaping and/or taking photographs in every room. The more detail you include, the easier it will be for your insurer to evaluate your loss. When making your list, open drawers and closets and don't forget to document what's in your basement, garage and storage buildings.
Once you've created your inventory, send the information to your insurance agent and/or keep it on your app.
Collect Your Insurance Information
Before a storm hits, review your insurance policies. Make sure you know what is and is not covered. If you have questions, contact your insurance agent or insurer.
Store electronic copies of your insurance policies with your home inventory and keep paper files in a safety deposit box. Make sure to have a copy of your policy declarations page listing all of your coverages, as well as your insurance cards.
Collect the 24-hour contact information for your insurance agent and insurer and enter it as a contact on your smartphone. Make a list that includes your policy numbers, insurer and insurance agent's phone numbers, website addresses and mailing addresses. Also, check to see if the company or agent has an emergency information hotline. It is a good idea to store this information, along with your home inventory, in a waterproof, fireproof box or safe. If you evacuate your home, take this information with you.
Note: Flood damage is generally not covered by a standard homeowners or renter's insurance policy. If you have a separate flood insurance policy, remember to include a copy of the policy and the contact details for the insurer on your list. Flood is a covered event in most auto insurance policies. Visit floodsmart.gov for more information on how to buy a flood insurance policy.
To help lessen the damage caused by a storm, take stock of your home. Clear your yard of debris that could become projectiles in high winds and trim dead or overhanging branches from trees surrounding your home. Ensure the roof sheathing is properly secured. Fasten end gables to the roof. Latch doors and garage doors properly. Secure shutters and outdoor furniture.
For personal safety, identify the nearest storm shelter and have an emergency or evacuation plan for your family. Practice your evacuation plan, making sure everyone knows where emergency supplies are stored. Have a storm survival kit that includes bottled water, a first-aid kit, flashlights, a battery-operated radio, at least three days of nonperishable food items, blankets, clothing, prescription drugs, eyeglasses and personal hygiene supplies.
If you must evacuate your home, turn off all utilities and disconnect appliances, reducing the chance of additional damage and electrical shock when utilities are restored.
News article: https://aldoi.gov/currentnewsitem.aspx?ID=1258