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Don't Let Hurricane Season Catch You Off Guard

Insurance Commissioner Goodwin and DOI offer tips to help consumers prepare

RALEIGH, N.C. : May 30th, 2014 - Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin wants to remind all North Carolinians to be prepared for the 2014 hurricane season, which began June 1 and ends Nov. 30.
"You shouldn't wait until a storm is headed our way to prepare," said Goodwin. "Take the time to make sure you have adequate insurance coverage, create a home inventory and compile important documents in a safe place to be ready for hurricane season."
Consider these quick facts and insurance tips during your hurricane season preparation:
If you rent, you need insurance.
If you live in rental property, your landlord's insurance only covers the building.
None of your personal belongings are insured unless you purchase your own renter's policy. Renter's policies are inexpensive and provide essential coverage in case of damage to your personal property.
Flooding is not covered unless you buy a flood insurance policy.
The standard homeowners policy does not cover damage caused by rising flood waters. Flooding can occur in any part of the state, from the mountains to the coast, and even if you are not in a flood zone, you may be at risk.
Keep these things in mind:
• If you do not have flood coverage and you suffer a flood-related loss, your only resource is whatever funding that might be made available by the federal government. The help may be limited or not enough to fully compensate you for your loss.
• You can only purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
However, there is a 30-day waiting period before flood policies take effect, so don't wait until a storm is approaching to purchase coverage.
• Call the NFIP at 1-800-427-4661 or go to www.floodsmart.gov for more information. You can also talk to your insurance agent; many local agents can help you purchase a policy.
Before a storm approaches, take these steps:
• Create a home inventory.Go room to room in your home and write down the brand name/description, estimated value and date of purchase of items in your home.
It is also helpful to compile receipts, appraisal documents and serial numbers. Videotape or photograph your belongings.
Remember to show the insides of closets, your garage and any storage spaces. Store your home inventory and related documents in a safe, easily accessible
place online, on your computer or in a fire-proof box or safe deposit box.
• Collect and review important documents. Gather important paperwork, including insurance policies, medical records, prescriptions, etc. Bring copies with you if you evacuate your home. Know exactly what your insurance policy does and does not cover.
• In the event of a storm, take action to protect your property. Cover your windows with storm shutters, siding or plywood.
Move vehicles into garages when possible, or park them near your home and away from trees.
Prevent outdoor items from becoming projectiles that can harm your property or neighboring homes.
Grills, patio furniture and potted plants should be moved into the house or garage. Tie down anything you cannot bring indoors.
Learn more about preparing for a hurricane or disaster at www.nchurriclaims.com or by calling the N.C. Department of Insurance at 1-800-546-5664.
Source: North Carolina Department of Insurance.