As Tropical Storm Chris lurks off the North Carolina coast, Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey wants all residents to remain prepared for what could be a very active hurricane season.
As of Monday afternoon, Tropical Storm Chris was about 200 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras and could become a hurricane as early as Monday evening or Tuesday morning.
The storm is expected to produce rough surf and create dangerous rip current conditions along the coastal areas of the state before turning east and heading away from the coast.
“Although Tropical Storm Chris is expected to only have minimal impacts, that doesn’t mean we can let our guard down,” said Commissioner Causey. “Hurricane season has only just begun. I encourage everyone to take simple steps now, if they haven’t already, to be better prepared for severe weather.”
There have been three named storms so far this hurricane season, including one hurricane. Hurricane season began on June 1, typically peaks in September, and ends on Nov. 30.
Here are five tips that can help residents prepare for the onslaught of inclement weather that often accompanies hurricane season:
- Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. Know exactly what your insurance policy covers. 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, and prescriptions. 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.
You can learn more about preparing for a hurricane or disaster at www.nchurriclaims.com or by calling the N.C. Department of Insurance toll free at 855-408-1212.