June has come and it brings to us the close of the school year, the beginning of vacation time and the dread of every Floridian; Hurricane Season. For many, summer is a time to slow down and enjoy life. A time for family activities, a time to get away and forget about the daily grind. The last thing on our minds is Hurricane Preparedness.
If you tend to put these things off until the last minute, you know the stress and rush of trying to buy up the last pack of batteries, the constant search for the latest delivery of water and endless lines to fill your tank with gas. All the panic hits the moment we see South Florida in the dreaded “cone of concern.” With all the hustle and bustle of getting prepared with supplies, insurance policies might be the last thing on your mind. We here at Cover-All Insurance as your local insurance agents always want to make sure your policies are in force on time, paid up to date, and that you understand your coverage in addition to all the other things on your checklist. Along with some help from the C.D.C., here are some tips to help as we prepare for the season:
Get your supplies EARLY
Hurricane Season runs from June 1st through November 30th every year. Because we know it’s coming, we can prepare early and often. Here are some of the standard things we will need:
- Three days’ worth of nonperishable food and water (one gallon of water per person per day)
- Keep your prescription medications up to date and plan to have enough for at least seven days
- While the power grids in South Florida are improving all the time, it is likely we will experience power outages. Flashlights, batteries, battery operated fans, and propane are great to have on hand as we experience a few hours or days without modern conveniences.
- Wind and water are our greatest concerns when a storm hits because they are the primary cause of so many injuries. Because it may be difficult and dangerous to get out on the road during and after a storm you should always have simple first aid supplies on hand to handle minor accidents.
Prepare Your Home
Your home will typically be your main form of protection in a storm. You want to be sure that it’s in the best shape to protect the things you consider most valuable to you. First and foremost, you want to ensure that any and all openings are protected. Doors and Windows should be rated to withstand the strong winds and possible impacts we face during tropical systems.
If your doors and windows are not rated for wind and impact you should have shutters that are. If you have accordion shutters you should test them to make sure they open and close properly. If you have aluminum shutters that bolt over your windows and doors, pull them out to ensure you have all the parts and pieces you will need to make the installation process as simple as possible. This helps with not only protecting your home but also can give you great discounts on your homeowners policy. With those discounts you can slice your premium in half for having the proper protection!
As the storm approaches, be sure to make room in your garage for any outdoor furniture, plants, garden décor, and anything else that could become a projectile in strong winds.
Create a Plan
All your prep will keep you a step ahead for the normal storm situations, but situations can change in an instant. That’s why you want to have a plan in place ahead of time in case of an emergency. Be sure to review your plan with the whole family. Here are some things to consider:
- In case of a call for evacuation, know ahead of time where the nearest shelter is to you. If you have pets, be sure that your shelter allows pets and find out if you need to be pre-registered to bring them along with you.
- Write down all emergency phone numbers and relatives phone numbers in case cell phones become unavailable.
- Make sure your car has a full tank of gas.
- If you have small children be sure that you have enough of their items (baby bottles, formula/food, diapers, etc.) ready to go.
- Make sure that all your important documents are sealed in a waterproof bag.
- Make sure all cell phones and radios are charged up and you know where the chargers are.
- If you don’t have insurance coverage on your vehicles or home, now is the time to get covered! Some insurance companies will restrict binding once a hurricane has been named. Some homeowners and flood companies will restrict coverage until 30 days AFTER you make your initial payment and request coverage to be bound. Don’t get caught without coverage!
- Obtain copies of all your insurance policies (homeowners, auto, and health). Make sure that you understand your coverages, what is included and what is excluded, and that they are paid up to date and active in case of emergency or the need to file a claim. Contact your insurance agent for this information. You can also give us at Cover All Insurance a call for a review of your current policies or to purchase new ones!
- After any storm if you need to file a claim make sure that you have your insurance claims information on hand and ready to go. This means having your insurance policy number and insurance company’s claims department phone number at your fingertips. Once you file a claim the insurance company will begin their process of getting you back on your feet. Answer phone calls, emails, and send in any and all documents required by them in a timely manner. Chances are the insurance companies will have a lot of claims coming in so it’s best not to delay yours at all.
You can’t stop a tropical storm or hurricane, but you can take steps now to protect you and your family. It may take some work but getting a head start on hurricane preparedness will keep your stress level down when everyone else’s is going up. You can refer to the CDC website for more hurricane preparedness information. Happy prepping!