CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Hurricane season is in full swing, but the reality is many people are unprepared for a storm.
This is especially true when it comes to insurance coverage. The most important thing is to be proactive and hedge early. Most policies take about 30 days to take effect.
In order to be prepared, it is first necessary to document and take note of all belongings and valuables.
Leslie Henderson of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes cautioned against any insurance surprises.
“Make sure you do a home inventory,” Henderson said. “Pick up your phone, walk around your house and talk about what you have. Grab the camera, take a picture of all your electronics, get the serial number and all the models. Do the same for the outside of your home. So if you have an insurance claim, the process will be smoother.
Also, make sure you stock up on the right supplies, because a hurricane could cut power and water supplies, or damage your car and make the trip impossible. Roads can be flooded or blocked. Therefore, have an emergency medical supply and backup power sources such as flashlights with extra batteries on hand.
People should also include important medical documents, passports, and personal ID cards in their storm-preparation kit.
In addition to protecting their valuables, homeowners also want to talk to their insurer about getting flood insurance if they live in a high-risk area. Remember that standard home insurance does not include flood protection.
If homeowners are unsure of where to start when purchasing flood insurance, visit Floodsmart.gov.
“There’s usually a difference if there’s four inches of rain in your home or four feet,” said State Farm Agent Will Deaton. “The entire Nueces County is in a flood plain. Some are in affordable flood plains. It is not very expensive, others are in a very expensive high risk flood area like on the island.”
Remember, if homeowners aren’t already insured when a known storm hits, some insurers won’t allow them to buy insurance or make changes. Also, remember that flood insurance has a 30-day waiting period, which means you’re not covered right away.
The Insurance Information Institute provides good information for people who may own a cooperative, apartment or condominium. They encourage people to check with their management company and the articles of incorporation as to what is covered by the building’s main insurance policy and what damages need to be covered individually.
If the home has been recently renovated, the amount of coverage may need to be adjusted to reflect the added value of the property.
All in all, you should be aware of what it takes before Mother Nature shows it.
The hurricane season lasts until November 30th.
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