Hurricane Season 2012 – Protect Your Homes and Families

2012 Hurricane Season Overview
Louisiana residents have been spared direct impact from hurricanes during the last few years. However, all residents must remain prepared for the damage hurricanes can bring to our state. Below is important information to assist Louisiana residents during hurricane season. 

Insurance Checklist and Tips
Property owners should be sure to take some basic precautions to protect themselves and their belongings from an oncoming powerful storm. The first step is to call or visit with your insurance agent or company well in advance of a storm to discuss your policy.

  • Review your property insurance policy, especially the “declarations” page, and check the kind and amount of coverage limits your policy pays and whether it pays replacement cost, or actual cash value for a covered loss.
  • Inventory your household items, and photograph or videotape them for further documentation. Keep this information and your insurance policies in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box.
  • Keep the name, address and claims-reporting telephone number of your insurer and agent in a safe and easily accessible place.

Talk with your insurer/agent about:

  • Your Deductible
    Make sure you know the amount of your deductible.  It may be based on the value of your home or a fixed dollar amount.  In many hurricane-prone areas insurance deductibles may range from 1 to 5 percent of your home’s value.  The higher the deductible the lower your premium will be.
  • Appropriate Limits
    Purchasing enough insurance is very important.  Your agent or insurance company can assist you in determining what is right for you. Check whether your policy pays replacement cost, or actual cash value for a covered loss.  Actual cash value takes into account depreciation and as a result the compensation you receive may be much lower than the retail price of a new item.  The cost of rebuilding is generally going to be higher than the price you paid for the home.  In some areas new more stringent building codes will increase the cost of rebuilding.  These factors should be considered in the decision regarding how much insurance to buy. Have you recently remodeled or added a new addition onto your property?  If you have increased the value of your property, be sure to increase the protection for your property.
  • Flood Insurance
    It is a good idea for people to buy flood insurance.  Flooding is not covered in your standard homeowners insurance policy.  It may be purchased through many insurance agents as part of the National Flood Insurance Program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Administration.  Keep in mind that inland flooding can occur as far as 500 miles from the site of a hurricane. There is a 30-day waiting period to get flood insurance, so it is important to act before floodwaters start to rise.
  • Temporary Housing
    Many standard homeowners and renters policies provide for reimbursement of additional living expenses when the property is determined to be uninhabitable due to damage.  This provision helps in paying for increases to necessary living expenses such as temporary housing and eating restaurant food.  In addition, extra expenses such as overnight parking and laundry services may also be covered.  Additional living expense coverage does not pay for all living expenses.  It covers only the increase over normal living expenses.  This coverage typically is limited to 20 percent of the value of the home or 40 percent of the personal property limits of the condominium or rental property.

 

Make sure you are prepared. Follow these steps to prepare your family and home. Read more

 

Tips to help salvage property and minimize damage after the storm

  • First and foremost homeowners should use caution and if it safe to do so, check for damage. If holes have been torn in your roof or your windows are broken, be sure to cover them as quickly as possible so that wind and rain does not cause further damage.
  • Keep all receipts for anything you buy for that purpose so you can submit them to your insurance company later.
  • Report all damage to your insurance company or agent as soon as you can in order to settle your claim more quickly and accurately.
  • Make a list of damaged items.  If possible, put together a set of records, such as receipts, bills and photographs, to establish the age of everything that needs to be replaced or repaired. 
  • Identify the structural damage to your home and make a list of everything you would like to show the adjuster.
  • Don’t throw out damaged furniture or other expensive items.  The adjuster will want to see them.  It also is a good idea to take photographs of the damage before you start cleaning it up.