Hurricane Dorian to Hit the East Coast

With Hurricane Dorian on the path to hit the southeastern states, Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey is providing the following resources to help prevent the loss of life, minimize property damage, and assist with recovery.

Hurricane Precautions:

  • Safety first. Develop an evacuation plan for your family, including your pets. Always follow guidance from emergency officials both for evacuating before the storm and returning to an affected area after the storm.
  • Protect your property by covering all windows with plywood or shutters, moving vehicles into the garage when possible and placing grills and patio furniture indoors.
  • Make sure watercraft are stored in a secure area, like a garage or covered boat dock.

Ensure You’re Insured:

  • Review your property insurance policy, especially the “declarations” page, and check whether your policy pays replacement costs, or actual cash value for a covered loss.
  • Inventory your household items, and photograph or videotape them for further documentation. Keep this information and your insurance policies in a safe place.
  • Keep the name, address and claims-reporting telephone number of your insurer and agent in a safe and easily accessible place.
  • Flood damage is not covered by a standard homeowners’ policy, however, coverage can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program or your insurance company. There is a 30-day waiting period between the date of purchase and when the actual flood coverage goes into effect.
  • Water damage to a vehicle is typically covered under an auto policy’s comprehensive insurance coverage.
  • A typical homeowners’ policy will cover property damage in limited instances for small watercraft, and separate boat policies will provide broader, more extensive property and liability protection for larger, faster boats, yachts, jet skis, and wave runners.

If Your Home or Business Sustains Damage:

  • Contact their insurer(s) immediately after the storm to report all losses and damages. Having your insurance information will speed things, so locate that as soon as possible.
  • Keep all receipts for any repairs so your insurance company can reimburse you.
  • Keep all recovery-related receipts, including for meals and lodging, as those might be covered under the “additional living expenses” portion of your insurance policy.
  • Businesses may also have coverage related to interruptions caused by the storm and should maintain records, receipts, etc.
  • Prepare a list of all damaged property (structure and contents), and if possible, photograph or video the damaged items.
  • Return claim forms as soon as possible to your insurer.
  • Work closely and stay in regular touch with your insurer.
  • Check with your insurance adjuster or Better Business Bureau for referrals to professional restoration, cleaning and salvage companies if additional assistance is needed.
  • Be extra wary of some unscrupulous third-party contractors who prey on storm victims. Ask for proof of professional licenses. Don’t pay for everything up front. Have a contract for repair work. Talk to your insurer if you have questions or concerns about contractors or your insurance policy.
  • When you rebuild, ask your contractor about adding features that would increase the building’s disaster-resistance.

The following documents will help ensure storm readiness and recovery:

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About the Author

Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.