Conducting an Insurance Check-Up & Reducing the Potential for Damage Are Key for Hurricane Season Preparedness

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National Hurricane Preparedness Week runs from April 30 to May 6

National Hurricane Preparedness Week (April 30-May 6) serves as an important reminder for consumers to take action to protect their homes and finances before the start of hurricane season on June 1. Residents in hurricane-prone states should take steps to be prepared for storm season, which includes ensuring they have the right amount and right types of insurance coverage and taking action to reduce the potential for damage to their home, according to the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA).

“Inflation, ongoing supply chain issues, and increased demand for skilled labor and construction materials following unprecedented natural disasters in recent years have contributed to a significant increase in the costs and timeframes to rebuild homes and businesses,” said Karen Collins, vice president of property and environmental at APCIA. “It is imperative that homeowners review and update their insurance policy prior to hurricane season to keep pace with elevated costs. There are key coverage features consumers should consider that can help prevent underinsurance, so talk to your insurer or agent about your options.”

Insurers also encourage property owners to reduce the potential for damage to your home if a storm strikes. There are several low-cost ways to make your home more resilient to a hurricane’s high winds and rain, such as trimming trees and branches away from the house, inspecting your roof and making repairs to loose or damaged shingles, securing loose gutters, and sealing gaps and cracks around windows and doors to prevent water intrusion. Additional options to consider may include installing a wind-rated garage door or hurricane shutters and upgrading the home or business to a FORTIFIED standard, which could help qualify the property for a premium discount.

“Many insurers offer discounts for mitigation measures that help reduce the likelihood of a loss or the extent of damage. Discounts vary by company, so talk to your insurer or agent to see what is available to you,” continued Collins.

Colorado State University predicts the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season will be slightly below average with 13 named storms, of which six are projected to be hurricanes and two are projected to be major hurricanes.

“While the forecast brings some potential good news, it does not mean anyone should get complacent. As we have seen in past hurricane seasons, it only takes one storm to devastate communities,” added Collins.

APCIA urges homeowners to take the following steps to prepare for hurricane season:

1. Review and update your homeowners’ insurance policy.

· Call your insurer to review your policy and understand how it works before a loss occurs. Be sure to review your policy limits and deductible (i.e., the amount you will pay out of pocket if you have a claim), and make adjustments, if needed, to ensure you have an appropriate amount of coverage to recover if your property is damaged.

· Ask if your policy pays replacement cost or actual cash value. Actual cash value takes depreciation into account and replacement cost is the amount necessary to rebuild your home with materials of like kind and quality.

· Consider adding key additional coverages, such as automatic inflation guard, extended replacement cost, and building code/ordinance coverage.

2. Evaluate your need for flood insurance.

· Flood damage is typically not covered under a standard homeowners policy.

· Flood insurance is available as a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Program or the private market, although some insurers may offer it as an endorsement to the homeowners’ policy.

· More instances of record-setting rainfall associated with storms are increasing the likelihood of flooding in areas that are typically outside the flood zone.

· New flood policies typically take 30 days before they go into effect, so do not delay in obtaining flood insurance.

3. Make a home inventory.

· Use your smartphone to take photos or videos of your belongings, including furniture, appliances, clothes, jewelry, and art.

· Save your inventory where you can easily retrieve it, such as the cloud or email a copy to yourself.

· Many insurers also offer specialized apps to help policyholders create their own home inventory.

4. Gather copies of your insurance policies.

· Keep copies of your insurance policies (home, flood, and auto) in a safe, dry, and accessible location.  

5. Save your insurer’s contact info.

· Save your insurer’s toll-free claims number to your phone’s contacts so you can easily start the claims process if your home is damaged or destroyed in a storm. APCIA has a list of insurers’ toll-free numbers here.

Additional APCIA Resources for the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season

· APCIA’s Hurricane Headquarters

· What to Do Before a Hurricane

· What to Do After A Hurricane

· Flood Insurance: What You Need to Know

· How to Avoid Contractor Fraud & Abuse

The American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) is the primary national trade association for home, auto, and business insurers. APCIA promotes and protects the viability of private competition for the benefit of consumers and insurers, with a legacy dating back 150 years. APCIA members represent all sizes, structures, and regions—protecting families, communities, and businesses in the U.S. and across the globe.

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