CHICAGO, Oct. 25 -- The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America issued the following news release:
As the Atlantic coast braces for potential impact from Hurricane Sandy, property owners should be sure to take some basic precautions to protect themselves and their belongings.
"Even if Hurricane Sandy ultimately moves away from land or downgrades, it is a good idea to take precautionary measures to prevent further damage to vulnerable property and keep out of harm's way," said Chris Hackett, director of personal lines policy for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI). "Residents of the east coast and others in the area who are ordered to evacuate should be prepared to report claims to their insurer as soon as it is safe to return to their homes and businesses and assess the damage."
Insurers will be ready to respond, as soon as it is safe, with catastrophe teams at the scene should Hurricane Sandy create significant damage. PCI and other industry groups constantly work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), part of the Department of Homeland Security, on disaster planning for both individual homeowners and businesses.
PCI recommends the following hurricane 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 is 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.
In case of flooding:
* Shovel or scrape mud off walls, floors and furniture, then hose from the ceiling down before the mud dries.
* To prevent mold and odors, clean walls and floors with diluted chlorine bleach.
* Gradually pump flooded basements (about one-third of the water per day).
* Electricity and water make for a dangerous combination. Take the proper precautions to avoid electric shock.
* Dry wood furniture outdoors away from direct sunlight.
* Use public water only after it has been declared safe by an authorized official.
Also, PCI's online Hurricane Headquarters provides suggestions and resources, such as claims contact information and what to do in advance of, during and after a storm. Go to http://www.pciaa.net/web/sitehome.nsf/lcpublic/438?opendocument for more information.
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