Hurricanes, Floods and Tornadoes, Oh My!
5 Years After Hurricane Katrina: Know the Steps Every Homeowner Should Take
STEP #1: Review Your Insurance Coverage
Be sure you have the right kind and amount of insurance, enough to rebuild your home and replace your belongings. Ask about flood insurance, which is not covered under a standard homeowners policy. Learn more about flood insurance at www.floodsmart.gov.
STEP #2: Create a Home Inventory
An up-to-date home inventory will speed up the claims process by substantiating losses and may provide documentation for tax purposes. It can also help you determine how much insurance to purchase. The I.I.I. offers free web-based software at www.knowyourstuff.org that makes the process easier.
STEP #3: Protect Your Property
Keeping wind and water out of your home is critical. Invest in storm shutters and reinforced garage doors. Secure roof shingles and seal any openings, cracks and holes. Gable end walls and roof sheathing should be strongly attached and braced, and double doors should have heavy duty anchors at the top and bottom and a dead bolt at least 1″ long.
STEP #4: Have an Evacuation Plan
Decide where you will go and how you will get there, and have more than one option. Keep a map, phone numbers and addresses handy. Think about what you’ll need to take with you – items like medicines, important documents, clothing and food – and have them ready to go.
The I.I.I. recommends practicing your evacuation plan by doing the Ten Minute Challenge – giving yourself just ten minutes to pack up and get out. By taking these steps now you stand the best chance of getting your life back in order after a disaster.
The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) is a non-profit educational, research and communications organization funded by the insurance industry to explain what insurance is and how it works. More information can be found at www.iii.org.
Ms. Jensen is a leading advocate for families and children and was the founder and president of ACES, The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.
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