Pre­pare now for se­vere weather events

Up­date in­sur­ance be­fore nat­u­ral dis­as­ters strike

The Catoosa County News - - COMMENTARY -

and keep all of these doc­u­ments with them should they be forced to leave their homes. Hud­gens also re­minds prop­erty own­ers and renters of the fol­low­ing tips:

· For per­sonal safety, iden­tify what storm shel­ter is avail­able to you and pre­pare an evac­u­a­tion plan.

· Make a plan for your pets. Not all emer­gency shel­ters will take pets. Check with your lo­cal vet­eri­nar­ian for help with a plan.

· Con­tact your in­sur­ance agent im­me­di­ately if you have had dam­age to ei­ther your house or car; do not de­lay. Your agent should pro­vide you with claims forms and ar­range for an in­sur­ance ad­juster to visit your prop­erty or look at your au­to­mo­bile.

· Re­mem­ber in se­vere weather to drive with cau­tion. In­clement weather does not ab­solve you of li­a­bil­ity should you have an au­to­mo­bile ac­ci­dent.

· A typ­i­cal home­owner’s pol­icy does not cover dam­age from flood­wa­ters. A sep­a­rate pol­icy must

be pur­chased through the Na­tional Flood In­sur­ance Pro­gram; con­tact your agent if you feel you need a flood pol­icy. Re­mem­ber, you do not have to live in a flood plain in or­der to qual­ify for cov­er­age, but your com­mu­nity does have to par­tic­i­pate in the pro­gram. Cov­er­age usu­ally goes into ef­fect 30 days af­ter the pol­icy is pur­chased. Un­like a typ­i­cal home­owner’s pol­icy, a mo­bile home pol­icy usu­ally in­cludes flood cov­er­age and does not have to be pur­chased sep­a­rately.

· Se­cure your prop­erty. For ex­am­ple, if your roof was dam­aged or blown off, or a tree has pierced the roof, cover the af­fected area with a tarp or ply­wood to pro­tect your prop­erty from fur­ther dam­age. Keep re­ceipts of ma­te­ri­als used for re­pairs; your in­sur­ance company should re­im­burse you for re­pair costs.

· If dam­age is so se­vere you have to leave, re­move valu­able items if there’s nowhere in the home to lock them up.

· Re­mem­ber, many in­sur­ance com­pa­nies per­mit their claims rep­re­sen­ta­tives to write checks for ad­di­tional liv­ing ex­penses to vic­tims on the spot. Con­tact your agent for de­tails.

If you have ques­tions about your pol­icy, or if you are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dif­fi­culty reach­ing your company, call Com­mis­sioner Hud­gens’ Con­sumer Ser­vices Hot­line at 800-656-2298. Phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mon­day through Fri­day.

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