Hurricane Season Is Here Again – Be Prepared

Are you prepared for the hurricane season? Officially hurricane season starts June 1 each year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted an average to above-average intensity hurricane season for 2018. This year, NOAA predicts 10 to 16 named storms in the Atlantic with winds of 39 miles per hour or higher. Of those storms, five to nine could become hurricanes. One to four could strengthen into major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5) with winds over 110 miles per hour.

The Gulf Coast just experienced Tropical Storm Alberto, which though technically not a hurricane, still can cause significant damage. Consequently, Alabama and Mississippi declared states of emergency prior to Alberto’s arrival.

How to Prepare for Hurricane Season

Many counties and Louisiana’s parishes sent out preparation warnings that included:

  • Have medications ready in case you must evacuate or lose power for an extended period of time.
  • Have a supply of batteries for flashlights and small radios available.
  • Your landline phone should still be working since most phone companies generate their own power.
  • Stock up on canned food and have a manual can opener. In a power outage, electric appliances will not work and food can spoil without proper refrigeration.
  • Your water heater, gas or electric, will not work as most require an electrical spark to ignite the pilot light.
  • Buy a car charger for your cell phone so you can have greater communication availability.
  • Have a full tank of gas in your car since gas station pumps work by electric. Some states require gas stations to pump without electric. Regardless of that, expect long lines and possible gas shortages.
  • Be ready to leave immediately in case of evacuation. Include important papers, jewelry, cash, and clothes just like carry-on luggage for an airplane.
  • Last but not least, think about your pets. They’ll need food and water too. In case of evacuation, have their health records with your other important papers.

One of the most over looked items is your homeowner’s and flood insurance. Your coverage, is it up-to-date?  Have you properly insured your home? Is the amount of coverage sufficient to rebuild your home in case a storm destroys it? And is the amount of personal property sufficient to replace all of your possessions? Do you have replacement cost coverage?  Make sure you are properly protected before the storm arrives.

Do You Need Flood Insurance and Homeowner’s Insurance?

Your homeowner’s policy does not cover flood insurance. Be sure you have a flood policy. If you do not already have flood insurance, buy it as soon as possible. Usually, it will take 30 days for coverage to be effective so. Remember flood insurance is a single coverage policy; it just covers flood.

Flood insurance has its owns rules. The maximum amount for your home is $250,000.00 and the personal property maximum is $100,000.00. Your house can be covered for replacement cost, but your personal property cannot be and is subject to depreciation. The policy terms and conditions are the same regardless of which company you purchase the policy even if you buy directly from National Flood through FEMA.

The premium will vary depending on whether you’re in a flood zone or not, and which flood zone you’re in. The institution that holds your mortgage will require flood insurance if you’re in a flood zone. Otherwise, you have no obligation to buy flood insurance. That said, buy it anyway.

Flood insurance will give you peace of mind. In the event you have a claim, your homeowner’s company might deny your claim and say it’s flood damage. With flood insurance, you will not be desperate and can possibly avoid a lawsuit.

Be Hurricane Prepared and Avoid Problems

This is just good planning and preparation – an attempt to avoid problems. One thing is for sure: Hurricanes will happen bringing damage and destruction. Good preparation is the first step to rebuilding and starting over.

Insurance policy coverages are complex. Products are not always easy to understand. Policies are not automatically stacked in the insured’s favor. Having a trusted agent/broker is a good beginning. But being well-informed is still your responsibility. It is to that end I offer information. I want to shed light on these issues to help you become an informed insurance buyer. That will help you get have the coverage you need for your family.

Should you have a claim and/or questions, need an adjuster or insurance expert completely familiar with flood insurance and homeowner’s coverage, my firm and I are here to help. Give us a call and hopefully we can resolve the issue and answer your question. If you require a lawyer, we can recommend several high-quality, experienced insurance lawyers.

Do not consider this article insurance advice. You should consult a licensed and reputable insurance broker who is familiar with your particular needs before purchasing insurance.