Florida Households Urged To Use Start Of Hurricane Season (June 1) As Date For Family Emergency Preparedness Meeting
For Immediate Release
Tampa, FLMay 22, 2014
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Waiting until a hurricane is hurtling toward your town is no time to have to make decisions about how to protect yourself and your family or where you’ll go if you must evacuate. Plan to make those decisions in advance and to involve the entire family in developing a disaster preparedness plan.
Working together on an emergency plan will help assess your vulnerability to storm risk—and relieve anxiety, because a family that plans together will build a bond to get them through whatever Mother Nature doles out.
The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and Florida Insurance Council (FIC) offer disaster planning tips to help families prepare for the upcoming six-month hurricane season, June 1 through November 30.
- Know How to Connect with Family Members If You Are Separated
Making sure that loved ones are safe should be the first action after disaster strikes. Select one person as your out-of-state contact, and tell any family member who is not at home when a storm hits to touch base with that individual to let them know they are okay. Give each person in the family a contact card to carry in their wallet or school bag or program the number into cell phones. “It’s also wise to select an in-town meeting place where the family can connect,” said Sam Miller, executive vice president for FIC. “And, rather than calling, send a text message because that doesn’t tie up phone lines needed by emergency workers and has a better chance of getting through quickly.”
The I.I.I.’s Know Your Plan disaster preparation app has checklists for specific situations, as well as key mitigation steps. This free tool makes it easy to get the family involved and helps everyone participate in the process.
- Involve Everyone In Creating a Home Inventory.
A home inventory helps ensure you have purchased enough insurance to replace your personal possessions. It can also speed the claims process and substantiate losses for income tax purposes. “Involving the kids in an inventory of their room is a hands-on experience with benefits,” said Lynne McChristian of the I.I.I. “In addition to helping you match insurance coverage to what you actually own, a detailed home inventory helps if you need to apply for disaster aid.” The I.I.I. has free online software and a mobile app that makes creating a home inventory easy. It’s available at www.KnowYourStuff.org.
- Review Your Insurance Coverage
Use the start of hurricane season as a reminder to have a conversation with your insurance professional to make sure your coverage is up-to-date. “What you pay for property insurance is not a reflection of real estate value. It’s about what it would cost to rebuild or repair your home,” said McChristian. “For the vast majority of Floridians, the rebuilding cost is higher than what the sales price would be in today’s market.”
Additionally, ask your insurance company about coverage for Building or Ordinance Law Coverage. This is important extra protection because damaged homes must be rebuilt or repaired according to the current building codes, not what was in place the year the home was originally constructed. Miller also urged homeowners and renters to consider flood insurance. “Damage from flooding is not covered under most standard homeowners policies, and most of the natural disasters in the U.S. involve flooding,” he said.
The I.I.I. has a full library of educational videos on its You Tube Channel. Information about I.I.I. mobile apps can be found here.
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