Insurers urge residents to be fully prepared

RALEIGH — With several storms developing in the Atlantic and Florence ready to strike the Carolinas, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America urges those along the East Coast to take steps now to prepare.

“PCI encourages property owners to take precautions to protect themselves and their belongings from direct and indirect impacts any of these developing storms could have on homes and businesses,” said Nancy Egan, PCI’s North Carolina regional manager.

This time last year, Hurricanes Irma and Harvey demonstrated how major storms can develop quickly and bring significant flooding as well as strong winds to coastal communities. However, insurers and their catastrophe teams are always ready to respond in the event storms produce significant damage.

“Should a storm cause property damage, it’s important to contact your insurer or agent as soon as possible so they can help you begin the recovery process,” said Egan.

Flooding from storm surge during hurricanes and tropical storms can be especially dangerous for residents along the coast. Flooding is not covered by a standard homeowners policy; however, flood insurance coverage can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program or your insurance company.

“Just be aware that there is typically a 30-day waiting period between the date of purchase and when the actual flood coverage goes into effect,” said Egan.

PCI recommends taking the following precautions:

— Review your property insurance policy, especially the “declarations” page, and check whether your policy pays replacement costs, 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.

— Keep the name, address and claims-reporting telephone number of your insurer and agent in a safe and easily accessible place.

— Protect your property by covering all windows with plywood or shutters, moving vehicles into the garage when possible and placing grills and patio furniture indoors.

— Keep all receipts for any repairs so your insurance company can reimburse you.

— Check with your insurance adjuster for referrals to professional restoration, cleaning and salvage companies if additional assistance is needed.

— Make sure watercraft are stored in a secure area, like a garage or covered boat dock. A typical homeowner’s policy will cover property damage in limited instances for small watercraft, and separate boat policies will provide broader, more extensive property and liability protection for larger, faster boat, yachts, jet skis and wave runners. Additional information can be found on PCI’s Hurricane Headquarters page.

Important links:

— Online Magazine: http://bit.ly/HurricanePrep2018

— 2018 Insurance Checklist: http://bit.ly/InsuranceChecklist18

— 2018 Hurricane Fact Sheet: http://bit.ly/HurricaneFacts18

— 2018 Insurance Claim Tips: http://bit.ly/InsuranceClaimTips

— Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value: http://bit.ly/replacementvscashvalue

PCI promotes and protects the viability of a competitive private insurance market for the benefit of consumers and insurers. PCI is composed of approximately 1,000 member companies and 340 insurance groups, representing the broadest cross section of home, auto, and business insurers of any national trade association. PCI members represent all sizes, structures, and regions, which protect families, communities, and businesses in the U.S. and across the globe. PCI members write $245 billion in annual premium, which is 38 percent of the nation’s property casualty insurance marketplace.