As with any major weather event, preparation is the key for home owners and business owners. The old adage of "hope for the best, prepare for the worst" comes to mind.
Also, during and after a storm, hundreds, if not thousands, of emergency personnel and utility workers are out in force to help restore order and services. We shouldn't forget about their hard work and sacrifices either.
Hurricane season is continuing, and the fall tornado season has begun.
--For a hurricane, make sure you have bottled water, a first aid kit, flashlights, a battery-powered radio, non-perishable food items, blankets, clothing, prescription drugs, eyeglasses, personal hygiene supplies, and a small amount of cash or traveler's checks.
--If you need to evacuate your home, turn off all utilities and disconnect appliances.
--It's always a good idea to take photos or videos of your home before a disaster strikes to properly record the condition of the home. If you use a digital camera, e-mail the photos to yourself, a friend or a relative or store them on a website.
--Take an inventory of your personal property, such as clothes, jewelry, furniture, computers and audio/video equipment. Photos and video of your home, as well as sales receipts and the model and serial numbers of items, will make filing a claim simpler. Leave a copy of your inventory with friends or relatives, e-mail it to yourself, and/or store it in a safe location. In addition, add insurance information to your inventory information -- the name of your company and agent, policy number and contact information.
--Review your insurance coverage. What does your insurance policy cover? What does it exclude? The standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover flood damage. Check to see if your policy covers debris removal and sewer back-up.
--Find out if your policy covers additional living expenses to reimburse you for the cost of living in a temporary residence if you are unable to live in your home.
--If you have jewelry or collectibles, check the limits of coverage. You may want to buy more coverage for these items.
--What is your deductible? You will have to pay at least this much if you have a covered loss.
--Also be sure you understand the difference between replacement cost and actual cash value.
You can't prepare for everything, but you can take steps to mitigate something that could be worse if you don't prepare at all.
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