Preparing for catastrophes


With the anticipated landfall of Gustav, we’re thick into hurricane season, which continues through November 30. Homeowners in the hurricane belt here in the U.S. are preparing for what is expected to be an active September and October. Disaster relief organizations such as the Red Cross offer hurricane preparation advice, with information about a personal evacuation plan, including supplies that should be part of your emergency kit.
A few preparatory steps can also make filing insurance claims after the storm an easier process. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) offers a special disaster preparedness section of their website, along with a one page tip sheet on Storm Preparedness: A Four–Step Process . Among their recommendations:

  • Review your insurance coverage in advance to understand what your insurance policy covers and what it excludes.
  • Take an inventory of your property – photos or videos can be helpful. They suggest storing photos on the web or with a relative.
  • Move all of your important documents to a safe location. Take them with you if you evacuate. Be sure to include the name of your insurance companies and agent, policy numbers and contact information.

And should your home or property suffer damage, NAIC’s guide to What Consumers Should Know When Faced with A Loss can also be very helpful.