Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey wants to remind all North Carolinians to be prepared for the 2017 hurricane season, which begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30.
"Hurricane Season has officially started and it is of paramount importance that every North Carolinian is prepared for every possible storm that may hit," said Causey. "If you take the time to prepare now, you could save yourself a lot of heartache and trouble later."
Here are five things that will help you prepare:
- Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. Know exactly what your insurance policy does and does not cover. Homeowners policies do not cover flooding; you can only purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. However, there is typically a 30-day waiting period before flood policies take effect, so don't wait until a storm is approaching to purchase coverage. If you live in a rental property, your landlord's insurance only covers the building. None of your personal belongings are insured unless you purchase your own renter's policy.
- Compile important documents. Gather important paperwork, including insurance policies, medical records, prescriptions, etc. Be prepared to bring copies with you if you are forced to evacuate your home.
- Create a home inventory. Go room to room in your home and write down the brand name, description, estimated value and date of purchase of items in your home. It is also helpful to compile receipts, appraisal documents and serial numbers. Take videos or photographs of your belongings. Store your home inventory and related documents in a safe, easily-accessible place online, on your smartphone, on your computer or in a fire-proof box or safe deposit box.
- Identify potential hazards around your home. Hanging tree branches, loose shingles, patio furniture and other outdoor objects can cause damage or injuries in a storm. Make repairs or secure large objects to reduce the threat.
- Review contact information. Make sure you have up-to-date contact information for your insurance agent and insurance company, and make sure they have accurate contact information to reach you.