TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With Tropical Storm Erika strengthening in the Atlantic, potentially on track to hit Florida, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) encourages residents in the southeast to listen to their emergency officials and prepare for severe weather. Although the storm’s path is uncertain, forecasters are warning residents to get prepared for heavy rain bands.
“Don’t wait to review your emergency plans and begin taking steps to prepare your property for the storm,” said Logan McFaddin, PCI’s Florida regional manager. “It is never too soon to ensure your loved ones and property are protected if a significant weather event occurs. As we move through the most dangerous time of the year for hurricanes, it is important to take each storm threat seriously and stay vigilant as it only takes one storm to devastate an entire community.”
This tropical system could bring strong winds and intense rain bands causing areas to flood. If flooding does occur and your home is near water or in a low-lying area, make sure you seek higher ground to avoid rushing waters. Insurance companies are watching closely and prepared to go out into the field immediately following the storm to help policyholders.
“Review your insurance coverage, and make sure once you and your family are safe to contact your agent right away to report damage, this will help the claims process in what could potentially be a stressful situation,” added McFaddin.
Prepare your Property
• 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.
While the typical homeowners policy does not cover flood damage, there are resources available to help consumers. The Federal Emergency Management Agency can be contacted at 800-621-3362 or www.fema.gov and consumers who have flood insurance policies through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) can contact either their flood insurance agent or the NFIP itself at (888) 379-9531 or www.floodsmart.gov.
Follow @PCIAA on twitter where we will share important tips and safety information use #floodsafety
The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) member company Toll-Free Policyholder Claim Phone Numbers.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can be contacted at 800-621-3362 or www.fema.gov
For media questions throughout the weekend please contact Brooke Kelley-Hunt 847-894-3881.