Ten Tips for Hurricane Preparedness
Protect your home by keeping up with routine home maintenance. For Texas instance, keeping your roof in good condition and your foundation sound can go a long way to preventing wind and water damage. You may be able to lessen hurricane damage to your home by making some simple structural upgrades. However, if you do make any changes to your home, such as a new roof, additions or alterations, you should build to the current windstorm building code and obtain an inspection certificate called a WPI8 which is required for TWIA coverage.
Be sure you have BOTH Texas flood insurance and windstorm insurance coverage. Flood insurance does not cover wind damage and Texas windstorm insurance does not cover flood/storm surge damage. Flood insurance is offered by your agent through the federal National Flood Insurance Program.
At least once a year, take an inventory of your property. Consider videotaping a “tour” of your belongings. Keep all property records and other important papers in a location away from your home (e.g., a safe deposit box).
Insure your property for what it will cost to REPLACE your belongings rather than basing coverage on current value.
Schedule an insurance “check-up” with your agent at least once a year about your Texas home insurance.
If changes to your insurance coverage are needed, plan ahead and don’t wait until the last minute. Most insurance companies cannot offer a windstorm policy when a storm appears in the Gulf of Mexico. Flood coverage requires a 30-day waiting period before it becomes effective after you purchase it.
Be sure you know how to file an insurance claim. Keep your agent’s contact information with you at all times.
Read your insurance policies and know what is covered and what is not covered. If you are not sure, discuss with your agent.
Purchase hurricane supplies such as food, water, flashlights and batteries. You may also consider a generator for electricity after a storm. Have materials ready to clean up and remove debris, such as gloves, rakes, trash bags and a chainsaw.
Most importantly, to protect you, your family and pets: learn about hurricane evacuation routes; plan what city or location you want to evacuate to in the event a storm threatens; ask friends and family to offer shelter if you need to evacuate; keep your car’s gas tank full to prepare for evacuation; and bring with you clothes, cash, bedding, food and any important family photos and mementos.
Take the time NOW to ensure that you and your family will be prepared when the next storm strikes. For more information about these tips and others, coastal residents are urged to contact their insurance agents.