Good News for Homeowners as Hurricane Season Approaches - Homeowners Should Take Steps to Protect Their Property

June 18, 2012

After a devastating 2011 Hurricane season, insurance companies are well-prepared for 2012. According to the Fitch Ratings' annual hurricane season desk reference, sufficient capacity remains available in the (re)insurance markets to meet the demand for coverage for the approaching hurricane season. Early forecasts for the 2012 hurricane season project a calmer hurricane season than last year, says Frank N. Darras, America's top insurance lawyer.

So go ahead and take a sigh of relief, but remember that Mother Nature often has its own agenda.

"Just finding your insurance policy amidst the destruction is most likely impossible, throw in the personal trauma and loss and all of a sudden, entire communities are overwhelmed," says Darras.

Here are some steps you can take now, before disaster strikes:

  • Know your risk. FEMA offers several online tools that help you calculate the risk to your property based on geographic location, including flood maps and HAZUS-MH.
  • Create a disaster plan with your family and practice it together once a year. Make sure all family members know what to do in case of each potential disaster.
  • Purchase insurance on all property, including home, boat, cars, and personal property (i.e., the "stuff" in your house)
  • Make sure you have video footage and photos of your property, structures and personal property
  • Make copies of your insurance policies and your videos; send to a trusted friend or relative for safekeeping in a different region of the country
  • Have an updated inventory list of personal property, drawer by drawer, closet by closet, room by room and don't forget the garage
  • Video all your property once a year
  • Know the name of your insurance company, their phone number and your policy number
  • Know your insurance agent's telephone number

"Insurance companies get hit hard too in a disaster. As they struggle to maintain their bottom line the difficulty in getting claims paid can rise exponentially. If policyholders' records are not current, delays can be longer than expected," says Darras.

Before a disaster strikes, review your policy and make smart choices regarding your family's safety. If you have any questions about your policy, be sure to have a trusted insurance attorney review your policy and make sure you are adequately protected.

"It is never too early to start getting your house in order when it comes to a disaster, but it most certainly can be too late," says Darras.