How many of you remember Hurricane Ike? The eye of the hurricane came straight to amble Texas causing damage and surrounding areas and towns well North of Houston. Weather forecasters are expecting a major hurricane to strike the Texas Gulf Coast this year. We want to remind you that hurricane season begins June 1 and ends at the end of November. We also want to give you some tips to help you prepare.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare for hurricane season:
- Review all of your property policies. This includes your homeowners, commercial property, auto and boat policies. Pay attention to whether wind and hail are included or excluded. Once a storm enters the Gulf of Mexico you will not be able to purchase any type of property, auto, or boat policies.
- Properties that are located in coastal counties and in certain areas of South Eastern Harris County will have to purchase wind coverage to the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). For properties that are valued higher than the maximum limit allowed by TWIA, coverage will have to be purchased from a specialty wind insurer.
- Flood is the standard exclusion for all homeowners and property policies. There is a standard 30 day waiting period for flood to take effect after you purchase the coverage. In addition, you cannot purchase loss of business income coverage on any flood policy. Prepare a contingency plan that will allow you to start business operations fairly quickly in the event that your business floods.
- For older properties, make sure that you have law and ordinance coverage. This will cover the extra expenses associated with bringing your home or building up to code in the event it is damaged by a storm.
- Your auto insurance policy will only cover damage caused by flood and hail if you have physical damage coverage. Physical damage offers both comprehensive and collision coverages. Comprehensive covers flood, hail, fire, theft, and vandalism.
- Create an updated inventory of all of your belongings. Take pictures of the interior of each room and the exterior of your home or building or videotape them. Itemize everything in include serial numbers and replacement cost values. Keep the inventory and pictures in a safety deposit box or save them in a cloud system.
- Develop a safety plan. In the event that you have to make a last-minute decision to evacuate, a safety plan will make it easier for you. Anytime local authorities recommend evacuation, you should leave. Include your pet in your safety plan in case you end up in a shelter that does not allow pets.
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