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PIA Advises Homeowners to Check Their Coverage Before the Hurricane Flags Fly

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2003 - As experts predict the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season that begins June 1 will be an active one, the National Association...
May 30, 2003

Forecasters Predict Active 2003 Storm Season

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2003 - As experts predict the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season that begins June 1 will be an active one, the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents is reminding homeowners to review their insurance coverage before the warning flags fly.

"As you prepare for the hurricane season, don't forget your insurance," said PIA President Carl Stoecklin. "Be sure your coverage is up-to-date. Don't take chances -- call your professional insurance agent and be sure."

Colorado State University hurricane forecaster William Gray, who has compiled an excellent track record in forecasting tropical storms, predicts Atlantic basin hurricane activity to be well above average in 2003.

"The probability of a major hurricane making U.S. landfall in 2003 is 30 percent higher than in the average season," said Gray. "With such large coastal population growth in recent decades, it is inevitable that we will see hurricane-spawned destruction in coming years on a scale many times greater than what we have seen in the past."

Here are some insurance tips for protecting your property:

  • Review your insurance coverage to make sure it is adequate, and familiarize yourself with any windstorm deductibles.
  • Most hurricane damage is covered under standard homeowners policies, but it is very important to insure your home and belongings to their full replacement cost at current value.
  • Flooding is generally not covered under standard homeowners policies, so ask your agent about flood insurance.
  • If you rent a house or apartment, talk to your professional insurance agent about purchasing a renters insurance policy if you don't already have one.
  • Make an inventory of your possessions and store it off the premises. If your belongings are damaged, this list will help in filing a claim.
  • If possible, take highly valued items to another, safe location.
  • Secure your property before a storm arrives!

If your home is damaged in a storm:

  • Be aware of personal and physical safety measures and comply with the orders of local emergency authorities.
  • Notify your professional insurance agent as soon as possible. Secure your premises before evacuating. Once you have vacated the premises, make sure your agent knows where to contact you.
  • Take pictures of damaged property and keep notes.
  • Temporary repairs may be authorized to protect against further damage. Check with your agent, insurance company or contact your PIA state affiliate. Keep all receipts for work.
  • Use pictures and inventory lists to help your agent and adjuster assess the damages.
  • Don't be rushed into signing repair contracts. Deal with reputable contractors. If you're unsure about a contractor's credentials, contact your claims adjuster, Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce for referrals.

"This country's warning system is good enough to prevent loss of life if residents of affected areas take those warnings seriously and follow instructions," said Gray.

Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses.

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