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Last year’s costliest hurricane cost $4 billion in insured losses. These storms can devastate communities and destroy human resources. This makes hurricane season difficult, especially for people who live in vulnerable areas like the Southeast and Midwest.
Some proactive steps — like making sure you have the right insurance in place — can help you prepare for a hurricane.
Check Your Insurance Policy
Insurance for homeowners, condos and renters
If a tornado hits, here’s how tornado insurance works:
- Homeowner’s insurance coverage covers storm damage to the structure of the home.
- Home insurance also covers structures like fences and sheds.
- Personal property coverage, another standard component of home insurance, covers damaged items, such as electronics, clothing and furniture.
If you live in a condo or apartment, your homeowner’s insurance or HOA coverage covers the condition of the home, and your renter’s insurance or homeowner’s insurance covers the contents of your unit.
Your car insurance will cover hurricane damage if you have enough information. Comprehensive auto insurance is a plan that pays if your car is damaged in an emergency, such as a hurricane, falling objects, weather conditions such as snow, fire, theft, vandalism or being hit by an animal.
If you are not sure if you have enough information on your car insurance, check with your insurance agent.
Protect Your Assets
The following can help you prepare your property for hurricane season.
- Log in for weather updates and warnings. Subscribe to mobile weather updates from a trusted organization like your local news station.
- Remove unnecessary space. Consider cutting down or removing large trees from your property that could fall on your property or become flying debris in a storm.
- Protect foreign assets: If a hurricane is expected, or if it’s hurricane season, it’s a good idea to secure outdoor items that could be dangerous in a hurricane, such as lawn chairs and grills.
- Consider building a hurricane shelter. If you live in a hurricane-prone area and don’t have a basement, you may want to consider building a safe room made of reinforced concrete. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) certified shelters instructions it can withstand wind speeds of up to 250 mph.
Prepare an Emergency Supply Kit
Disaster relief kits can help you prepare for a storm. Good disaster preparedness tools often include:
- Essential medicines and basic equipment
- Water and food for several days
- Local map
- Mobile chargers
- Dust masks
- Personal hygiene items
- You can open it
- Plastic utensils
- Pet supplies such as dog food and extra water for your pet
- A change of clothes
- List of medications your family has been prescribed
One of the best ways to prepare for a hurricane is to stay informed about the weather and register for local alerts. Storms strike with little warning, so mobile weather alerts can help you stay informed and get to safety faster.
Knowing the signs of an impending hurricane can also help you take immediate action. Before you start shaking, you may see a dark green cloud or hear a loud noise like an oncoming train. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s time to hide.
What to Do During a Tornado
A hurricane watch is issued when the surrounding area shows conditions and pressures that may allow for a hurricane to form. A tornado warning is issued if a tornado has been spotted in your area.
If a tornado warning is issued, gather your family members and go to a basement or an interior room without windows very low.
If you are living in a mobile home, the American Red Cross recommends that you find shelter in a sturdy home. If you can’t hide, experts recommend hiding in a hole. A container house is not safe in a hurricane.
If you’re in a high-rise building and don’t have time to get down, stay on the street, away from windows.
Adults also recommend protecting your head by placing your hands, blankets or chairs over you. Sleeping in places is the best option during a hurricane. If you’re in a car, don’t try to outrun the twister. Instead, try to find a strong building or a hole where you can hide.
What to Do After a Tornado
The first order of business after a hurricane is to make sure everyone is safe and accounted for. Next, make a list of the damages caused by the storm and take corresponding pictures for the insurance company. Be sure to remove any downed power cords when inspecting for damage. If cleaning debris, wear sturdy, protective clothing.
Contact your home or mortgage insurance company as soon as possible to let them know you have a claim. Even if you need to make emergency repairs, don’t do too much repair and cleaning until your company sends an insurance adjuster to look at the damage.
Tornado Insurance List
The following tips can help you prepare for hurricanes and maintain peace of mind before, during, and after a hurricane.
- Gather the necessary documents. Keep important documents, such as birth certificates, passports, Social Security cards, and home and auto insurance documents in an easy-to-access safe deposit box.
- Make a list of your products. It’s always a good idea to make a list of your household items, including furniture, electronics, and jewelry, for insurance purposes. Doing this in advance of any disaster can save you time and help you make a better decision in the event of a hurricane.
- Fill out an insurance policy. If your home or anything in it is damaged by a hurricane, you can get homeowner’s insurance. It is normal for a claims adjuster from your insurance company to visit the property and assess the damage. However, take pictures or video to document the damage.
- Be persistent. Their communication is delayed, depending on how many areas in your area are affected by the storm. Don’t be afraid to ask about changing your preferences. If your home has suffered extensive damage, consider hiring a claims adjuster to help manage the claims process.
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