Prepare Today to Protect Your Family and Preserve Your Property From Storms
It has been nearly four years since Hurricane Ike struck the Texas coast, yet the aftermath of the storm still lingers. Many families and businesses were tremendously impacted. With hurricane season underway, now is the time to take stock of how prepared you and your family are for the nextmajor storm.
As many learned from Hurricane Ike, waiting until a major storm approaches may be too late. If nothing else, please take the time to be sure you know what your insurance covers and make any necessary changes to your policies to ensure that your family’s future is protected.
You can also protect your home by keeping up with routine home maintenance. Keeping your roof in good condition and your foundation sound can go a long way toward preventing wind and water damage. You may be able to lessen hurricane damage to your home by making some simple structural upgrades. Your insurance agent should be able to advise you on your specific situation.
In terms of insurance, it is strongly advised that coastal residents have BOTH flood and windstorm insurance coverage. Flood insurancedoes not cover wind damage and windstorm insurance does not cover flood or storm surge damage.
At least once a year, take an inventory of your property. Consider taking a video “tour” of your belongings. Be sure to keep all property records in a location away from your home. And should you need to file a claim following a storm, a few extra dollars in insurance premiums can pay off in the long run. Consider insuring your property for what it will cost to REPLACE your belongings rather than basing coverage on current value.
Another important precaution is to schedule an insurance “check-up” with your agent at least once a year, well ahead of hurricane season. If changes to your insurance coverage are needed, plan ahead. New policies or changes to current policies cannot be accepted immediately prior to a hurricane.
Be sure you know how to initiate 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 your questions with your agent.
Take the time NOW to ensure that you and your family will be prepared when the next storm strikes. Living along the coast brings many joys, but also some important responsibilities. Take the necessary precautions to protect your family’s future.
For helpful links on hurricane preparedness, please visit www.twia.org.
John Polak is the general manager of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, the state’s “insurer of last resort” for wind and hail losses in counties along the Texas coast.