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Professional Insurance Agents Advise Homeowners to Check Their Coverage Before the Hurricane Flags Fly

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2006 - As forecasters predict that the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season that begins on June 1 will be an active...
May 26, 2006

Forecasters Predict Active 2006 Hurricane Season

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2006  - As forecasters predict that the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season that begins on 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 to check your insurance," said PIA National President Ray Peretti. "Be sure your coverage is up-to-date. Don't take chances, call your professional insurance agent and be sure."

Colorado State University's chief hurricane forecaster William Gray is predicting another very active hurricane season in 2006, with 17 named tropical storms, nine hurricanes and five intense hurricanes, or storms ranging from Category 3 to Category 5. In all categories, that's about double the average.

Gray says the probability of a major strike on the eastern U.S. coast, including the Florida peninsula, is 64 percent, while the average is 31 percent. And the Gulf Coast, from the Florida panhandle to Brownsville, Texas, has a 47 percent chance of seeing a major hurricane make landfall, well above the average 30 percent chance.

Here are some insurance tips for assuring you're prepared and protected:

  • Review your insurance coverage to make sure it is adequate, and familiarize yourself with any windstorm deductibles.
  • Most hurricane wind damage, and damage from driven rain directly resulting from wind 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 and many forms of water damage  are not covered under standard homeowners policies, so ask your agent about flood insurance. Do this now as flood insurance policies don't take effect until 30 days after the date they are issued.
  • 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 keep receipts on big ticket items. Store both 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 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 or insurance company. 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.

"The bottom line is the probabilities of something bad happening in the 2006 hurricane season are running about double the average, across the board," Peretti noted. "That's why people must be prepared, and part of preparedness is making sure you have the appropriate insurance coverage."

PIA has issued a flyer, Hurricane Tips for Homeowners, which includes tips for protecting your property before a storm, advice on what to do if your property is damaged and answers to some Frequently Asked Questions. It is available for download here (PDF file). 

Founded in 1931, and celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2006, 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. PIA members are Local Agents Serving Main Street America.

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