After a significant hurricane or weather-related tragedy, opportunists and fraudsters seem to come out of the woodwork to prosper off the vulnerable situation property owners may find themselves in.
In the hectic, chaotic days that follow any storm, dishonest contractors, repair businesses, and service-related representatives prosper with promises of cheap repairs, emergency grant money, or claims of altruistic intentions. During these vulnerable moments, it is more important than ever that property owners be aware of unlicensed individuals who may show up at the door with lofty claims.
Avoid Home Improvement Scams
Be cautious when any salesperson or self-proclaimed expert appears at your door uninvited. Many scammers prey on unsuspecting and vulnerable property owners by going door to door.
Home improvement scams often flourish in the wake of disasters, especially after violent storms such as hurricanes and tornados. However, they “prowl” at all times of year in the hopes of making a quick buck off of property owners. Scammers know concerned owners will spend money to improve a problem with their property.
The claims made by any unsolicited contractors, or any offers that seem too good to be true, should be given a second look. Here are some suggestions for protecting yourself.
Take Precautions When Giving Vital Information
Never divulge your policy number, coverage information, or any other private information to individuals or businesses unless you have thoroughly investigated the contractor and are prepared to sign a contract after doing your due diligence about the company.
Verify Licensing and Credentials
Be sure to check with your insurer, prior to contracting for services, to confirm your coverage and policy requirements. Hire only licensed specialists with a good reputation and acquire itemized estimates for bids or repairs.
Choosing a Contractor
Choose the person who will work on your property carefully by doing your homework. Selecting a contractor with a recognized physical address, Google reviews, and a current phone number is an important base to cover. Take the step of seeking out customer testimonials or referrals to ensure the contractor has a quality reputation.
The best course of action is to obtain quotes from multiple contractors before having any work done on your home. Get the proposals in writing, and make sure the details of the services to be provided are clear.
Carefully Examine Contracts
The majority of home improvement and repair work is done under contract. In fact, for their own protection, reputable companies typically demand contracts. A well-written contract should also safeguard the property owner.
Verify that the written contract contains all the “promises” made to you. Insist on a formal contract that details the work to be done by the contractor, including when it will begin, and when it is estimated to be completed. Make sure the contract specifies the cost of special orders and materials and contains everything the contractor or salesperson promised.
Be Wary of Lofty Claims of Savings
Anyone who approaches you without your permission or claims to be able to perform repairs at a reduced cost should be suspect.
Contractors who demand big deposits or upfront payments should be avoided. Never make checks payable to a person or to "Cash," but rather to a company. This request would be a huge red flag you shouldn’t ignore.
Just say “No” to individuals who tell you to avoid getting permits to save money. Most repairs require a permit, which ensures adherence to building codes and rules, and an inspection of the finished work might be necessary to complete a permit.
Hire a Public Adjuster to Help
Public adjusters may be hired by policyholders to help them with their insurance claims. Even though the majority are trustworthy, after a disaster, unlicensed individuals claiming to be public adjusters may also attempt to take advantage of property owners. Partner with a reputable company such as Reliant Insurance Adjusters to ensure that your best interests at a property owner are their priority.
If you have any questions about your claim or you need to file an insurance claim, contact Reliant Insurance Adjusters today.
In December, Florida Legislators held a special session during which they passed a new bill that was signed into law in an attempt to stabilize Florida's troubled property insurance industry.
Unfortunately for Florida policyholders, it falls far short of its intended purpose, it is not so consumer friendly and ultimately favors the insurance industry.
The legislation raises many issues and questions, making it even more important that you have a qualified public adjuster on your side to obtain a proper insurance claim settlement.
What was the Intended Purpose?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, Florida homeowners, who already pay some of the highest insurance premiums in the nation, have witnessed average rate increases of 33%, with some receiving quotes for increases of up to 10 times their current premiums.
In light of statistics showing that Florida accounts for 7% of all property insurance claims but 74% of all property insurance litigation, the legislature responded with changes outlined in the bill.
What Changes Can be Expected?
Property insurers have long argued that litigation encourages cost increases and that so-called "one-way attorney fees" are to blame. The new legislation takes away one-way attorney fees, which mandated that insurance company’s cover the legal costs of policyholders who prevail in their insurance claims.
Unfavorable Changes for Policyholders:
What You Need to Know Before Selecting a Policy with Binding Mandatory Arbitration:
Policyholders Insured with Citizens Property Insurance Will See Increases
Citizens Property Insurance will now require that all their policyholders carry flood insurance. If you receive a comparable coverage offer from a private insurance carrier, even if the coverage is more costly, you will not be eligible for coverage with Citizens at renewal. If you own property and it is not your primary residence, your insurance rates will increase.
Some Favorable Changes for Policyholders:
Unbeknownst to many policyholders, these contractors were filing lawsuits against insurance companies to recover payment under their AOB. This certainly increased the amount of lawsuits that were filed when there was a claim dispute, and this only resulted in higher premiums for policyholders.
Hire a Public Adjuster to Help
The revisions contained in the bill are an overcorrection that strips homeowners of their rights and leaves property owners at the mercy of their insurance company.
Now more than ever, policyholders need a reputable partner like Reliant Insurance Adjusters to ensure your rights are protected and get you the claim settlement you deserve.
During this time of year, most people take part in activities that have the potential to increase risk for your loved ones and your property. While most people are concentrating on spending time with friends and family, buying gifts, and organizing travel over the holidays, it's equally crucial to maintain the security and safety of your property during this potentially hectic time.
Indeed, the holiday season may be stressful, and the possibility of a fire, theft, or catastrophe only serves to heighten it. However, there are several measures you may take to reduce anxiety and gain peace of mind.
How to Keep Your Home Safe During the Holidays
Here we share four suggestions to help you keep your home and property safe during the holiday season.
#1 Keep Your Holiday Lights Off the Naughty List
All those twinkling lights may put you in the holiday spirit, but they can also spark a fire. Use caution when purchasing the strings of lights for decorating and make sure they are flame-resistant. Prior to placing them on your tree, examine your older lights closely. Be prepared to replace any lights that have frayed wires, damaged sockets, or cords that are tightly coiled.
When choosing electrical products, look for a certification mark like UL or ELT, and be cautious to avoid overloading extension cords. Keep all pets and children away from any electrically powered decorations or light strings. Switch holiday lights off when leaving your property or when going to bed each evening.
#2 Take Precautions with Decorations and Holiday Trees
Pulling out the treasured ornaments from your family archives may bring a smile to your face, but be aware that older decorations may have been painted with lead paint. If you have the slightest suspicion that lead paint could have been used, choose to treasure those ornaments in private.
In addition to lead paint concerns, make certain that you only use ornaments that are nonflammable or fire-resistant. Also, avoid decorations that have sharp edges or are trip hazards if you have small children or elderly family members in your home.
Additionally, moving parts or tiny parts are a choking hazard and should be kept away from young children. Keep any loose parts in a safe place.
If you decide on an artificial tree, look for a “fire-resistant” label, and no matter the type, place your tree up high and away from any heating elements including portable heaters, radiators, and fireplaces. About one out of every six Christmas tree fires are caused by heat sources that are too close to the tree. Make sure to water live trees regularly and check to be sure there are no decorations blocking any entrances or exits to the home.
#3 Keep Your Property Secure
Criminals may be keeping an eye on your property while you are busy taking part in holiday activities. So, when leaving your house, take additional care to secure all of the doors and windows.
It is recommended that you leave a TV on so that it appears that someone is home. Also, consider keeping your lamps on a timer so that they turn on when the sun goes down. Security cameras inside your property give you an extra sense of security, and it is best to also have exterior cameras placed in the front and rear of your property as well.
Take care and do not blatantly display goods or gifts near windows where they can be easily seen. If you plan to be gone for an extended amount of time, ask someone to pick up your mail or newspapers so that it is not obvious that you are away from your property. It’s a good general idea to have a trusted friend or family member check on the property frequently while you are away.
#4 Ensure Your Guests’ Safety
Consider these safety suggestions as you get ready for visitors:
As your guests fill your home over the holidays, be aware of the flow of traffic, the ease of access to all exit points, and any trip hazards that may exist throughout the entertaining areas. Remove all unnecessary items that may cause anyone to trip or be trapped in the home should the unthinkable occur.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, unattended cooking is the main cause of house fires in the United States. The kitchen is where two out of every five house fires begin, so make the choice to never leave the kitchen unattended when cooking is taking place.
An Ounce of Prevention
This holiday season, you can help safeguard your family and property by taking a few simple steps. A proactive safety strategy is worth its weight in eggnog around the holidays as it provides peace of mind. You'll feel more at ease attending holiday festivities knowing that you've taken precautions to protect your property and belongings.
If you have any questions regarding keeping your property secure throughout the year, if you need assistance filing an insurance claim or would like a free policy review, contact Reliant Insurance Adjusters. We wish you a peaceful, safe and happy holiday.
Owning a property entails many responsibilities. In addition to the financial commitment of a mortgage, taxes, utilities, and insurance, there is also the duty of property maintenance. Whether you intend to sell your property or not, consistent and thorough maintenance is a crucial investment and can help save you money.
Many property owners are unaware that they must maintain their property as a condition of their home or business insurance policy. The majority of insurance policies specifically state that "neglect" or "failure to properly maintain the property" will cause problems if damage occurs. In simple terms, things that fail or break due to “neglect” are not covered by your insurance policy.
Your property will have multiple areas that need maintenance for 2023, some of which may be obvious and others which are not. However, the majority of areas can be addressed with simple routine checks. With these consistent checks and maintenance, you can help prevent costly and frustrating issues from occurring.
The Importance of Property Maintenance
Routine, preventative, corrective, and cosmetic maintenance are all simple ways to manage the upkeep of your property. We have seen it all as public adjusters, and we are aware of the value and significance of property maintenance.
Regular maintenance will decrease the likelihood that you will ever need to make an insurance claim. However, we are here to assist you if you ever find yourself in a position where you must make that decision.
Here are five quick and inexpensive items to add to your maintenance checklist:
#1 Maintain Trees and Large Shrubs
You should cut off any loose branches and check the condition of the trees you have around your property before they have a chance to cause damage. Any trees that appear to be unstable, should have their trunks anchored to the ground or completely removed before that unexpected storm hits.
In fact, if you own property in Florida, you probably realize how critical tree trimming is, especially before hurricane season. Although it might not be the most glamorous chore on your maintenance list, this straightforward task can help avoid hurricane debris damage as well as diminish the chance of pest problems.
#2 Check Window Seals and Doors
Your window seals can deteriorate just like any other component of your home. Every year, check the seals on your windows and doors. You can lessen the stress on your HVAC systems and lengthen their lifespan by making sure that every area of your property is properly sealed. This will also help prevent weather-driven rain from damaging your property through cracks or gaps in windows or doors.
#3 Keep Your HVAC Systems Clean
Maintaining your HVAC system is another crucial item for your 2023 maintenance checklist. It’s a good idea to have your HVAC system checked and cleaned twice a year while the lines should always be cleared, and the filter should be changed every one to two months.
It is also a good idea to add fans in your kitchen and baths if you do not already have them installed. By doing so, you can lessen the likelihood of mold growth by reducing the amount of moisture that accumulates inside your home as well as contribute to good air flow for your HVAC system.
#4 Check Plumbing and Drainage Systems
Checking your plumbing and drainage systems is another important item to put on your maintenance checklist. Numerous factors, including roots and deposit buildup, can damage your plumbing, causing unexpected water damage at inconvenient times.
Check for leaks on a regular basis under your kitchen sink cabinet and bathroom vanity cabinets. You may choose to partner with a qualified plumber to design a maintenance schedule if you need assistance with correctly maintaining your plumbing and drainage system.
#5 Clean Refrigerator Coils
At least once a year, cleaning refrigerator coils with a vacuum will help keep your refrigerator operating efficiently. You would simply remove the front panel and vacuum any dust, dirt, or pet hair as these coils are typically located at the bottom of the refrigerator where these elements like to collect. Consult your owner’s manual if you don't know where the coils on your specific unit are located.
Property Maintenance and Prevention
When it comes to upkeep and repairs, there are areas of a property that require more focus than others. Preventative measures and yearly maintenance will go a long way towards keeping your property safe and functioning properly.
Making a yearly maintenance checklist is a preventative measure you can use to make sure your property is in tip-top shape. If you are unsure of which areas of your property need upkeep, you may want to engage a specialist to conduct a thorough assessment and identify any potential problems.
At Reliant Insurance Adjusters we can assist you. Whether you need make a list of improvements, or document the current condition of your property before or after a loss. To find out how we can help, contact us for more information.
Thanksgiving is a festive time of year when homes are full of friends and family and activity is centered around the kitchen. Cooking and baking in preparation for the feast usually means kitchen countertops are covered in appliances and a smattering of ingredients, while ovens and microwaves are being put to good use. All of this activity may be joyful and exciting, but underneath are risks to your property that can be avoided with proper preparation.
Did you know that the National Fire Protection Association reports Thanksgiving as the number one day for home-cooking fires? Unfortunately, this means that property damage claims and injuries can result from unexpected accidents while cooking and preparing for Thanksgiving.
As the holiday draws closer, we are sharing some ways you can avoid injury and property damage.
Check Smoke Alarms
It may seem obvious, but all too often, fires begin in homes where owners have let the maintenance on smoke alarms lapse. Or perhaps even worse, smoke alarms aren’t installed at all.
For your family’s complete safety, you want to make sure you have a functioning smoke alarm in or near the kitchen, near every sleeping area, and on each level of your home. Make it a priority to check or replace batteries in all your smoke alarms at least once per year.
Remove Fire Hazards
In the spirit of the holidays, it’s easy to decorate with items that are fun and seasonal, but sometimes we forget that some of the items may create an unintentional fire hazard. Do a thorough review of the area near your stove and remove anything that could easily catch fire. This can include, but is not limited to, hand towels, plastic bags, wooden utensils, or hot pads and oven mitts.
According to the U.S. Fire Department, more than 4,000 fires start on Thanksgiving Day. Using a deep fryer to cook turkeys results in about five fatalities, 50 injuries, and the cause of nearly $15 million in property damage each year.
There are several things you can do to avoid a disastrous situation if you plan to use a deep fryer. Safety begins with your protection first. Wear a fire safe apron and use mitts that cover and protect your arms during the frying process. You want to avoid any bubbling hot oil or the heat from the fryer causing any harm to your clothing or body.
If utilizing a fryer to cook your turkey outdoors, make sure to place the fryer away from any building or roof overhang, and cook the turkey in a well-ventilated location. This will prevent your property from catching fire in the event of a flareup. Make sure the oil is the proper temperature and consider utilizing a splash mat under your fryer in case of oil spillage during the frying process.
Once you have finished cooking the turkey, it is important to always discard the oil and grease in sealed containers and dispose of it in the proper locations. Never discard oil or grease down your sink drains or toilets, as this can cause a blockage in your plumbing system. The result could then lead to water damage to your property from clogged plumbing lines.
General Kitchen Safety
Kitchen safety is important all year round. Follow these additional tips to ensure your next family gathering is safe:
By following these safety suggestions, you can make sure that you and your guests have a great Turkey Day while also keeping everyone safe year-round.
Has Your Property Been Damaged?
Has your property been damaged by fire, water, wind, or other causes? Our experienced public adjusters at Reliant Insurance Adjusters understand that filing a claim can be difficult and frustrating, especially during the holidays.
We will handle the entire claim process for you. We create thorough damage estimates along with videos and photos, so you do not have to worry about taking on any of the work or stress that comes along with properly filing your insurance claim. Whether you have a new, underpaid or denied insurance claim, contact us to schedule an appointment.
In general, people tend to believe that insurance will always be available, yet insurance companies are businesses, and they are constantly assessing their risk just like any other business. They even reserve the right to revoke your policy.
Whether you own residential or commercial property, most people like to enjoy consistent coverage from the same provider for many years. It is always possible that coverage may be denied or cancelled for a myriad of reasons.
Why Would Your Policy Be Cancelled?
Insurance providers must ultimately make decisions that allow them to be profitable. They need to be able to evaluate risk and minimize loss, which may mean that if your covered property is posing too much risk or expense for them to continue coverage, your insurance company may cancel your policy.
These are some basic explanations why your insurance coverage could be cancelled or non-renewed:
What Options Do You Have if You Receive a Non-Renewal Notice?
If you receive a notice of cancellation of your coverage from your insurance provider, you still have some options available. You have a limited amount of time to secure new coverage. Insurance companies typically send non-renewal warnings at least 60 days before your policy expires.
Find out if there is anything you can do to stop the non-renewal by getting in touch with your insurance agent. For example, if you take particular action to lower risk for your property, some insurers might decide to continue your coverage.
You Should Evaluate Any Changes
If you are planning to plead your case with your insurance provider, it can be worthwhile to evaluate any changes that have occurred and resulted in your cancellation.
If you have made any improvements and upgrades to your property that can help you retain your insurance policy, it may be worthwhile to provide the evidence and documentation.
Here are a few examples of how evaluating changes can be beneficial:
You Should Highlight the Value You Add as a Policyholder
If you have been a long-standing policyholder with your insurer, remind them of your commitment to them and the years of trust you have placed in them as your provider. Go the extra mile in communicating the steps you have taken to improve upon their concerns and reiterate how much you value their service.
Contact an Insurance Adjuster
If you have a new, underpaid or denied property damage insurance claim, contact Reliant Insurance Adjusters to see how we can assist in the recovery of your property damage insurance claim. We also provide free insurance policy reviews so we can provide guidance to make sure your property has adequate insurance coverage.
In our work as Fort Lauderdale public adjusters, we have helped property owners file insurance claims for property damage caused by fire, water damage, flooding, hurricanes, and tornados.
As a Florida property owner, there are important things you want to know about the causes of fire. This includes how much risk fires represent in Florida, as well as the insurance policy most likely to provide coverage.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
As public adjusters, we help property owners receive claim settlements from their insurance company after a loss or disaster has occurred. That said, we are limited in what we can do if your policy does not provide coverage in the event of a fire or loss.
This is why it is important to understand your insurance policy and the coverage it provides. Most insurance policies provide coverage for fire damage if the fire was caused accidentally. This includes but is not limited to damage caused by:
If the fire was set intentionally, it is considered arson and is excluded from both residential and commercial insurance policies. To better understand what is covered your insurance policy, it is important to speak with a public adjuster.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Damage Caused by the Fire Department?
While putting out a fire, the fire department can actually cause more damage to your property such as water damage or drywall damage just to name a few.
We previously discussed an incident where a client was without power for a week and therefore was not able to mitigate the water the fire department used to put out the fire. As you would expect, mold started to grow, and we had to not only address the fire and smoke damage, but include the water damage and mold.
It is important to note that water and mold damage are not the fire department’s responsibility. Their goal and purpose are to ensure that the fire is put out as quickly as possible all while keeping their firefighters safe from harm.
Are Florida Properties at Serious Risk for Fire?
Florida has the third largest number of properties at risk for wildfire damage, after California and Texas. While this is a startling number, it also speaks to the size of the state. Wyoming and New Mexico have a higher percentage of properties at risk, but they have less properties overall.
Because Florida is a humid state, fires do not spread the way they do in California which is typically drier throughout the year.
Of course, even with all these factors, residential and commercial property owners still need to be careful. Even if wildfires are less severe in Florida than in other states, it is still very possible for a fire to start in your home or business. We recommend following these fire prevention and safety tips to say safe and help prevent a fire.
Looking for a Public Adjuster in Fort Lauderdale?
At Reliant Insurance Adjusters, we are committed to helping residential and commercial property owners understand their policy and get the settlement they deserve from their insurance company.
If you have any questions about how we can help you or would you like to speak with us regarding your insurance claim, contact us today.
As a silent lurker, water leakage can cause devastating damage to your property. This is because some leaks occur gradually, without any warning or fanfare.
There are a multitude of reasons why your property may be prone to leaks, and identifying these reasons is not always easy. Older structures, for example, may need to be updated to prevent water entry in ways that are not obvious at first glance.
If necessary updates to your home or office are not completed, you may find yourself facing water damage to some degree. This is especially true in locations where storms or heavy rainfall are common, like in Florida.
Here are a few tips to prevent water from entering your property through windows, doors, and your roof.
Windows in older buildings are often prone to water leakage. Often, these windows have been affected by years of temperature variation, the home moving and settling, and old caulk beginning to crack. These factors all play a role in the window no longer being watertight.
If you notice gaps between your window and the wall, there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent water entry. These steps include removing debris from weep holes, the tiny passages for water to escape your home's building envelope near the bottom of the window. You can also remove old caulk and re-caulk the window frame.
If you complete these steps and are still experiencing water leaks around your windows, reach out to a local contractor for an evaluation and perhaps a full window replacement.
Typically, water entry occurs underneath doors leading outside. These leaks happen when there is a gap between the threshold plate and the bottom of the door, or when the plate is not properly sealed. These leaks can be costly especially if your interior floor gets damaged, or if the water has spread throughout the property.
If you notice water entering your structure through an exterior door, you may need to replace the door threshold plate. This can be done in a few steps:
Water leaks can also be deterred through weatherstripping, canopies, overhangs, and awnings to minimize water entry in the vicinity of the door.
Leaky roofs are best prevented through the use of quality building materials. These materials include waterproof barriers, which function to prevent water seeping into areas including a vent, skylight or chimney.
One way to protect your property is to install pre-manufactured flashing. Similar to waterproof barriers, flashing directs water away from openings prone to water leakage in the roof.
Another level of protection for your roof would be installing roof deck protection when installing a new roof. This can create a barrier underneath your shingles, effectively keeping water from leaking through any gaps in the shingles.
Lastly, consider ventilating your attic. Hot and humid attics allow for the presence of moisture, increasing the likelihood of mold.
Do You Have Water Damage?
Have you discovered water damage within your home or office? Are you unsure of the extent of the damage or how to proceed with if you have an insurance claim? We are here to assist you!
At Reliant Insurance Adjusters, we specialize in commercial and residential insurance claims, including mold and water damage. Our adjusters are prepared to guide you through this stressful process by asking the right questions, so that you don’t have to. Contact us today, we are here to help.
There are more than 50,000 employer establishments in Palm Beach County. While these businesses can represent major sources of revenue for their owners, they are also at risk for all kinds of property damage: weather events, fire, theft, water damage and more.
If you own a business in the area, it is a good idea to speak with a public adjuster in West Palm Beach. We can help you understand what coverage you have and help you file an insurance claim. Many business owners have business personal property insurance, which provides essential coverage.
What Is Business Personal Property Insurance Designed to Cover?
Business personal property (BPP) coverage is part of a broader commercial property insurance policy.
While the broader commercial policy is likely to provide coverage for the building if you own it, BPP specifically is designed to encompass the items that are not a part of the building.
This can include:
While BPP does not provide coverage for the building, it will likely provide coverage for improvements you have made to the building.
It is designed to protect against several different kinds of property damage like water, fire storms, theft, and vandalism damages. As always, policy coverage varies from policy to policy and we will review your policy to determine and help you understand your coverages.
Does Business Personal Property Insurance Cover Office Equipment in My Home?
Business personal property coverage can include office equipment if you have a home-based business. If you own a home-based business, it is important to review your homeowners insurance policy because it may not provide the coverage you need.
Depending on the size of your home-based business, you may need to supplement your homeowners insurance policy with increased business property limits, an in-home business policy, or business personal property insurance.
Business personal property insurance is also tax-deductible, which makes it a great choice for all kinds of businesses.
Does BPP Cover Other People’s Personal Property?
There may be situations where another person’s property is put under your care, control, or custody. While BPP will not provide coverage, the broader commercial property insurance policy will.
What If Your Insurance Company Disagrees Regarding Your BPP Coverage?
If your insurance company denies your claim, there are still options to receive a claim settlement. The earlier you choose to work with a public adjuster, the better. We thoroughly document your claim, and assist with making sure all of your post loss policy obligations are met.
Additionally, we can provide a pre-loss inspection report before damage even occurs and prove the condition of your property prior to any loss. I cannot stress enough how our clients who sustained flood and wind damage from Hurricane Ian wished they had done this as we sift through all the damage and try to document their damaged business personal property.
Are You Looking for a Public Adjuster in West Palm Beach?
You have come to the right place. We are experienced public adjusters and are dedicated to helping homeowners and business owners get the settlement you deserve.
If you have any questions or would like to speak with us, contact us today. We are always happy to help.
The Atlantic Ocean experienced several hurricanes of the 2022 season after months of mostly calm. Before making landfall as a catastrophic Category 4 Hurricane on the west coast of Florida, Ian as it traveled through the gulf waters, produced Tornados in the outer bands which affected some our local towns on the east coast of Florida. While it was not expected to make landfall on the east coast, Ian still left a trail of damage in its wake.
Sadly, Ian’s force left such destruction, flooding and unfortunately loss of life. Our family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors on the west coast are trying to put their lives back together as they navigate these difficult times. It will take quite some time to restore and rebuild and we are sending our thoughts and prayers to all.
As we are assisting clients with tornado damage, it is a very important reminder to always be prepared. We were not expecting to have anything but some mild rain and wind on the east coast. Before we knew it, our phones were blaring with tornado warnings to seek shelter in an interior room as the tornado was moving quickly and affecting our towns.
Experts always caution that the weather can shift quickly and that deadly storms could still develop in the coming weeks. This makes being prepared the name of the game.
Here are a few things to review to keep your home and property safe, as we are not in the clear yet!
#1 Take an inventory of your personal property
Making a list of your personal property might seem like an extra step, but it will help you make sure that you have obtained enough insurance to replace your personal belongings in the event of a catastrophic storm.
If you need to ask for disaster aid, it can also expedite the claims process. Keep your critical documents with your home inventory and be sure to take them with you if you need to leave your property.
#2 Prepare and Protect Your Property
In order to be prepared for the remaining weeks of hurricane season, be sure that you have safeguarded your property with a few simple steps.
Make sure that your gutters, downspouts, and drains are clear to ensure that water will divert away from your property to help avoid water damage.
For the best defense, install permanent storm shutters to lessen the likelihood of shattered windows. If you don’t yet have shutters (or impact windows), consider using plywood to cover your windows in case that storm hits.
Check on your property’s larger trees and prune any hanging branches. Put away outdoor items such as patio furniture, trash cans, potted plants, and bicycles to avoid property damage that high winds can cause if such items aren’t secure.
#3 Prepare an Emergency Stash of Supplies
Prepare an emergency stash of supplies well in advance in case a hurricane does come to your area. Bottled water, first aid kits, and other necessities are frequently unavailable in stores once the forecast has been released due to such high demand. Don’t wait for that moment. It is a good idea to have these supplies in advance, and a good rule of thumb is to plan for at least five days of critical supplies.
One of the most important elements of hurricane preparation is planning your evacuation process. If you think evacuations are only for those who live on or near the coast, keep in mind that hurricanes can cause severe damage no matter where in the state you are.
Begin planning your evacuation route by searching for information on your local county/city website. Make note of the locations of nearby shelters, pet boarding facilities, and gas stations.
Review your plans with your family and consider a practice run-through to make everyone familiar with their role in case you do need to evacuate.
Our Hurricane Supply Checklist is available for you to download today so you are always prepared.
Hope for the Best, But Plan for the Worst During Hurricane Season
It may be tempting to relax and let your guard down, but hurricane season is not over just yet. In the event there is a hurricane, be better prepared with the suggestions I covered here.
Also make a note that your property insurance may cover typical repairs and extra living expenses should you need temporary shelter. However, your homeowner’s insurance will not cover flood-related destruction. Make sure you have flood insurance whether you are in a flood zone or not.
If you need further information or would like an evaluation of your preparedness, at Reliant Insurance Adjusters, we have the resources needed to properly conduct pre-loss inspections and can guide you towards the best options for your needs. Contact us today for more information.