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Above average hurricane season expected, have you reviewed your insurance policy?

Written by: Sill Public Adjusters

Above average hurricane season expected, have you reviewed your insurance policy?

Hurricane season is expected to be above average in terms of the frequency and strength of storms in 2024. Weather experts say warmer-than-average ocean temperatures due to La Nina should increase storm activity. 

The storm projections call for 17 - 25 named storms, with 4 - 7 becoming major hurricanes. 

Hurricanes are among the most destructive natural disasters, bringing devastating winds, torrential rains, and catastrophic flooding. Given the forecast for the frequency and intensity of hurricanes this year, it is crucial to be more prepared than ever.

This guide will cover essential steps for hurricane preparedness, strategies to prevent damage, tips for ensuring you have the correct insurance coverage, and how a public adjuster can assist if you experience property damage due to a hurricane.

Hurricane Preparedness: Steps to Take Before the Storm

1. Create an Emergency Plan

Develop a detailed emergency plan for your family. This should include:

  • Evacuation Routes: Know the safest routes out of your area and identify multiple options in case primary routes are blocked.
  • Communication Plan: Establish a way to communicate with family members if you become separated. Consider having an out-of-state contact person.
  • Emergency Contacts: Keep a list of emergency contacts, including local emergency management offices, hospitals, and utility companies.

2. Assemble an Emergency Kit

Your emergency kit should contain:

  • Food and Water: At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and water (one gallon per person per day).
  • Medical Supplies: Prescription medications, first aid kit, and any necessary medical equipment.
  • Essential Documents: Copies of important documents such as insurance policies, identification, and bank records.
  • Basic Tools and Supplies: Flashlights, batteries, a multi-tool, a whistle, and a battery-powered or hand-crank radio.
  • Personal Items: Clothing, blankets, personal hygiene items, and activities to keep children occupied.

3. Prepare Your Home

Take steps to secure your home against hurricane damage:

  • Install Storm Shutters: Use hurricane shutters or plywood to protect windows and doors.
  • Reinforce Your Roof: Ensure your roof is secured and in good repair. Consider installing hurricane straps.
  • Secure Outdoor Items: Bring in outdoor furniture, decorations, and other items that could become projectiles in high winds.
  • Trim Trees and Shrubs: Maintain your landscaping to minimize the risk of branches falling on your home.

Preventing Hurricane Damage

Preventing damage to your property requires proactive measures:

1. Strengthen Your Home’s Structure

  • Upgrade Windows and Doors: Install impact-resistant windows and doors or add storm shutters.
  • Roof Reinforcement: Strengthen your roof with hurricane straps or clips that connect the roof to the walls of your house.
  • Elevate Electrical Systems: Raise electrical panels, switches, sockets, and wiring at least one foot above potential flood levels.

2. Flood-Proof Your Property

  • Install Sump Pumps: Use sump pumps with battery backups to remove water from basements.
  • Waterproof Basements: Apply sealants and coatings to your basement walls and floors to prevent water infiltration.
  • Create Barriers: Use sandbags or install flood barriers around your property to redirect water away from your home.

Ensuring Correct Insurance Coverage

Having the right insurance coverage is vital to recover from hurricane damage:

1. Review Your Policy

Understand what your current homeowner’s insurance policy covers:

  • Wind Damage: Most standard policies cover wind damage, but check the specifics, as some policies have separate deductibles for hurricane-related wind damage.
  • Flood Insurance: Standard homeowner’s insurance does not cover flood damage. You may need a separate flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or a private insurer.
  • Additional Living Expenses: Ensure your policy includes coverage for additional living expenses if your home becomes uninhabitable.

2. Assess Coverage Limits

Ensure your coverage limits are adequate to rebuild your home and replace your belongings. Consider the increased cost of building materials and labor in the aftermath of a major disaster.

3. Update Your Inventory

Keep an up-to-date inventory of your possessions. Document items with photos or videos, including receipts and appraisals for high-value items.

How a Public Adjuster Can Help

If you experience property damage due to a hurricane, a public adjuster can be an invaluable resource:

1. What is a Public Adjuster?

A public adjuster is a licensed professional representing policyholders negotiating insurance claims. Unlike insurance company adjusters, public adjusters work solely for you, ensuring you receive the maximum settlement.

2. Benefits of Hiring a Public Adjuster

  • Expertise: Public adjusters have detailed knowledge of insurance policies and claim processes. They can identify all damages and ensure nothing is overlooked.
  • Documentation: They help document and value your losses, including structural damage, personal property, and additional living expenses.
  • Negotiation: Public adjusters handle all communications and negotiations with the insurance company, alleviating stress and ensuring a fair settlement.
  • Time-Saving: They manage the entire claims process, allowing you to focus on recovery and rebuilding.

3. When to Hire a Public Adjuster

Consider hiring a public adjuster if:

  • You experience significant damage and need expert assistance to document and file your claim.
  • Your insurance company offers a settlement that seems too low.
  • The claims process becomes overwhelming or time-consuming.

The Sill Adjusting Group features the industry's largest and most experienced team. Our experts handle hundreds of insurance claims each year. Our team is available 24/7 at 844.650.7455.

If your home or business suffers damage, call Sill to ensure you get the settlement you deserve.