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6 Things You Should Do Now to Prepare for Hurricane Season

1. Know your coverages.

Check to see if you have a hurricane deductible and flood insurance. Named storm and hurricane deductibles typically run two-five percent of the insured property value. If your home has an insured value of $250,000 with a two percent deductible, you would pay $5,000 out of pocket before your insurance company made payment on the claim. Check to see if you have flood insurance. Flood damage resulting from heavy rain or storm surge is excluded from most policies. There is typically a 30-day waiting period before a flood insurance policy takes effect.

2. Check your property for obvious hazards.

Hanging limbs, loose shingles, unsecured children’s play equipment. Even that broken garage window you’ve been meaning to patch since winter. In a hurricane all of these things can become projectiles and cause damage.

3. Locate copies of your important documents and store off site.

In case of emergency evacuation, you’ll want to have copies of your important documents such as your social security cards, birth certificates and banking information. Also include a copy of your policy and any information about how and where to file a claim for damages. Hard copies kept in a separate location, files backed-up on a secure internet site or a jump drive loaded with these documents can all ensure that you have the paperwork you need, when you need it.

4. Update your home inventory.

Spring can be a great time to update—or create for the first time—an inventory of your home and belongings. Information such as purchase dates as well as receipts and photographs of your things can help when it’s time to make a claim for damages.

5. Stock supplies for before and after the storm.

Everyone knows that bread and milk are the first things to disappear in a grocery store immediately before a storm, but don’t wait until a storm strikes to purchase basic repair supplies. Keep things like tarps, plywood, hammers and zip ties on hand for temporary repairs after a storm

6. Keep your contact information up to date with your insurance provider and your agent.

Having your up to date contact information, and in some situations the contact information of a third party out of state who can contact you if you evacuate, can help make any claims run smoothly. Your insurance company should make every effort to contact you with necessary information, but it is ultimately your responsibility to keep your contact information updated and to read and address all communication sent to you.

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