With the Hurricane season coming to a close in the next two weeks, it is easy to put ideas on protecting your property on the back burner. However, NOW is the time to make sure your insurance will protect you for the next storm season. Throughout the United States, hurricanes cost taxpayers billions of dollars in damages. For instance, in Texas, Hurricane Ike alone cost taxpayers some $22 billion in damage after pummeling into Galveston, Texas in 2008, making it the third costliest hurricane on record. The Lone Star State also experiences destructive windstorms, hailstorms, tornadoes, and floods on a yearly basis.
In the wake of serious natural disasters, including Hurricane Ike and the infamous 2012 hailstorms in Hidalgo County, Houston-based Mostyn Law has helped thousands of victims across Texas settle their claims with insurance companies in the wake of natural disasters.
“Preparedness is key to minimizing your losses or even avoiding them altogether when a natural disaster strikes,” said Steve Mostyn, a Mostyn Law attorney.
Here are some keys measures Mostyn suggests Texans take to make sure they’re prepared for nasty weather of all kinds.
It’s a good idea to regularly take photos and videos of the condition of your home and property, including your car, and store these files in a cloud service such as Dropbox or safety deposit box at your bank. You can also create a backup USB flash drive to have with you in your purse before the storm hits. When the storm is over, this material might help you prove to the insurance company that any damage to your home was, in fact, caused by the storm, and not negligence or other factors.
It is also a smart idea to back up other important records, including your mortgage documents and rental agreements, as well as your auto and homeowner insurance policies, in the cloud. Keep electronic copies of personal prescriptions, financial statements and tax records, too, in case your paper copies are damaged or lost. Finally, store valuables such as jewelry in a bank safe deposit box to avoid losing them in a flood or fire when bad weather is in the forecast.
When a big storm is coming, it’s not the time to run out with everyone else and buy the store out. Often you will find most stores are picked over and there are very limited supplies. Start early and throughout the year when items go on sale stock up on everyday necessities, including extra batteries, cash, first aid, shelf-stable foods, chargers for your electronic devices and at least three days’ worth of medication. You should also always keep at least a three-day supply of water on hand for each person in your home.
Before the next hurricane, windstorm, hailstorm, or catastrophe strikes, review your insurance policies to ensure that your home and property are protected. Look at your insurance policy limits on your home and contents to make sure you have enough coverage and protection. Also, read your policy, including the sections that explain your Duties After Loss and Exclusions sections. Make sure you pay your premiums timely and always open and read any correspondence you receive from your insurance company or insurance agent throughout the year to make sure you don’t miss any changes or notices. You don’t want to be caught without coverage if you experience a catastrophe or flood, hailstorm, or windstorm and your homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover it.