Every day we are reminded that disaster can strike at any time, any place. For the city of Worcester, disaster struck the day before Labor Day: an EF-0 tornado. Thankfully, the devastation was not as wide spread as that of the tornado that swept through the area in June of 2011. Yet, the storm was still powerful enough to create a two mile path of destruction, much of the damage a result of snapped and uprooted trees.
This September is designated National Preparedness Month by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The movement stresses the importance of developing evacuation and emergency communication plans in preparation for future natural disasters. FEMA found that less than 40% of Americans have an emergency plan, and just 29% have updated their emergency supply kits in the past year.
Are you and your family prepared to cope with a catastrophe? Here are 5 tips to help prepare you and your family before the next disaster strikes:
- Be proactive. Review your homeowner’s insurance policy with your independent agent beforehand. A standard homeowner policy will typically cover damages caused by fire, lighting, or wind. Additional coverage can be purchased for damages resulting from flooding or earthquakes. Your policy should provide enough coverage to rebuild your home if it were destroyed, called a home’s replacement cost value.
- Make a plan. You and your family will be better equipped to handle the aftermath of a disaster if you make a communication plan in advance. Map out how you will get to a safe place; how you will contact one another; how you will get back together if separated; and what you will do in different situations.
- Document your belongings. How can your insurance company restore what you have without the proper documentation of your belongings? Creating a home inventory can ease the claims process in the event you experience a loss. Once you have a completed household inventory with supporting documents, store it in a safe location, such as a safety deposit box.
- Assemble a disaster supplies kit. Pack enough non-perishable food and water per person for at least three days, including pets; a First Aid kit that includes any necessary prescription medicine; flashlights with extra batteries; and a radio. Be sure to charge all cell phones the night before a storm is forecasted.
- Know who to contact. After the storm settles, report any damages or losses to your independent agent immediately. If you cannot reach your agent, try calling the direct number of the claims department with your insurance company. Once the claim is filed, your independent agent will contact you back with the next steps towards settling your claim.
For more information, contact McGrath Insurance Group at 800-342-3859 or visit our website at www.mcgrathinsurance.com.
*This article is written for informational purposes only and should not be construed as providing legal advice.