Plan Ahead for Hurricane Season in Virginia and North Carolina
Residents of Virginia and North Carolina face the Atlantic hurricane season beginning June 1st and ending November 30th.
Homeowners should keep their deductible in mind, seeking options to make sure that it is affordable. Insurers typically require deductibles at a high, flat amount (such as $2,000) or at a percentage of the policy's insurance limit (anywhere from 2% to 5%).
Naturally, we should consider ways to minimize possible loss and maximize individual personal safety by:
- Build a disaster supplies kit
- Establish a family communication plan and document a place to meet in the event of an emergency
- Make advance evacuation plans (including determining evacuation route, fueling car, preparing supplies, etc.)
- Being aware of the nearest, safe shelter in your city or county
- Review the shelter's rules and list of items to bring or not bring
- Bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts
- Cover/Secure all windows and doors
- Have a portable radio and stay turned to accurate source of weather broadcasts
- Turn off (unplug) small appliances and turn refrigerators/freezers to their highest settings
- If applicable, turn off fuel/oil tanks
- Fill sinks and bathtubs with water
Returning to a damaged/destroyed site is not when a hurricane victim will be at his or her best, but that is the time that certain obligations have to be met in order to make the most out of any insurance recovery. It is important to do the following:
- At the earliest possible chance, contact your insurer with details about your loss
- If possible, be sure you have a way to visually record the loss details (smart phone camera, camera, digital camera)
- Take reasonable action to keep intact property protected from additional damage or loss
- Keep an accurate record of all expenses that are related to protecting your property as well as items related to temporary housing and meals
Though post-catastrophe times are chaotic and spirit-sapping, it is important to keep in contact with your agent and/or insurer. Take the time to be meticulous about filling out reports, documenting the value of your loss and assist claims personnel.