Catastrophes - Preparation, protection, cleaning up
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If you have questions, please call us at 1-800-548-2329 or click here to use our contact form.
For clarification from the National Flood Insurance Program on how to set up your damaged property for inspection by an adjuster, pictures to take to help prove your loss, and so on, click here for their bulletin.
Please note, flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Plan (NFIP) has a 30 day waiting period, so you can not get it in time if you wait until a hurricane is on the way. Call GBW insurance or go to our flood insurance page by clicking here; you can get flood quotes or advice.
Private insurance companies also restrict changes in coverage when a hurricane approaches, so please talk with us. For general information on homeowners insurance call us or click here to go to our home insurance page.
Here's a link to our President's interview with NJBiz about Sandy's damage to businesses. Or click here to start a business insurance quote.
Windstorms and Trees
1) For advice on wind damage to trees, click here for a link to an Insurance Information Institute video explaining home insurance coverage and windstorms/hurricanes.
2) Most homeowner insurance policies have little coverage for trees that fall without damaging your home or blocking access to your home.
3) For most home policies, you have coverage if a tree hits your house or power lines on your property. That would include hitting a power line on your side of the connection, even across the street.
4) You have some coverage if a fallen tree blocks access to your home.
5) But most policies don't have much, if any, coverage if something off your property takes out power to your house or neighborhood.
Whether you are a GBW client, or just need advice, call us at 1-800-548-2329 and make sure you have adequate property insurance limits, before the storm comes. We are an insurance agency serving you first, not one insurance company. You work hard to succeed, we work hard to protect you.(TM)
Preparing for a disaster:
1) Click here for the link to the Insurance Institure for Business & Home Safety disaster safety page.
2) Click here for the link to FEMA's list of additions to an emergency supply kit.
3) Here are some tips from Travelers Insurance for dealing with hurricane preparation for New Jersey home owners.
- Create a disaster plan. Plan an evacuation route in advance and determine where you would go if you were told to evacuate.
- Prepare a survival kit. Stock up on drinking water, non-perishable goods, a first-aid kit and medicine for everyone including your pet. Include extra clothing, blankets, batteries, flashlights and a portable radio.
- Conduct a home hazard hunt and make your home as safe as possible. Secure all outdoor objects such as garbage cans and lawn furniture. Close storm shutters and board up all windows.
- Review how to shut off utilities in an emergency with all family members.
- Locate important papers and documents and have them ready to take with you should you need to evacuate. Protect documents in plastic storage bags if you're remaining in your home.
- Make sure you have insurance policies with claim contact information, an inventory of your home’s contents and cash. You can prepare for any loss by taking pictures of all of your rooms, contents of furniture, and so on. Then make sure a copy of those pictures/files is offsite, whether in data storage or physically in a family member's house or a safe deposit box.
- Ask an out-of-state friend to be your family contact. After a disaster, it's often easier to call long-distance than to make a local call.
- Finally, leave promptly when ordered to evacuate. Leaving too late or not leaving at all only endangers yourself and others.
4) Here's another, longer, set of ideas. These are from Hanover Insurance.
Preparing Well in Advance:
Determine whether you have adequate protection. In particular consider whether you have flood insurance and if your policy will cover current rebuilding costs.
Review your homeowners policy with GBW Insurance (1-800-548-2329).
Secure your home: Repair loose boards, shingles, shutters, down spouts—the kind of things that could become greater problems in high winds or torrential rain.
- Consider making improvements to protect your home, especially if you live on or near the coast. These could include protecting windows and doors with storm shutters and upgrading to a hurricane resistant roof.
- Make a home inventory so that you can easily offer a list of damaged possessions to your insurer in the event that you are impacted by the storm. Be as detailed as possible, listing all personal items and including photos and videos where possible. Keep your inventory list in a fireproof safe or a safe deposit box. A free online home inventory tool from the Insurance Information Institute is available by clicking here.
- Stock emergency supplies, including a battery powered radio, flashlights, extra batteries, medicines, first aid handbook and kit, a week’s worth of non-perishable food and water. Other items to have on hand include tools, blankets and/or sleeping bags, cooking and eating utensils, pet supplies, paper plates and cups, boards, plastic sheeting, tape and toiletries such as soap, bleach (for disinfecting), and diapers, etc.
- Develop an evacuation plan and notify family and friends where you will be staying if forced to evacuate. Share everyone’s cell phone numbers and be sure to compile a list of key numbers (fire, police, etc.) you might need in the case of an emergency. During a Hurricane Watch . Follow advice from local officials on how to best protect yourself for the upcoming storm.
- Listen for advisories on the radio or TV
- Double check that your emergency supplies are in order.
- Charge your cell phone battery or batteries.
- Fill the gas tank of your car(s). You’ll need it if you have to evacuate. If there is a power outage, gas pumps may not be functioning.
- Bring items inside your home that could become dangerous as flying objects, including all toys, and lawn furniture. Make sure that sheds, cabanas and similar detached structures are securely anchored.
- Protect glass windows with boards, shutters or tape. Otherwise they could be broken from wind pressure.
- Move important papers and valuables to the second floor if you expect flooding.
- Turn your refrigerator to the coldest setting; so food will last longer if the power goes out.
- Fill your clean bathtub with extra water.
- And stay calm. Don’t panic.
- Get inside immediately
- Check on family members’ whereabouts and ensure all are safe.
- Evacuate motor homes and take shelter in a grounded building.
- Open a window on the side of your home opposite the prevailing wind, in order to reduce dangerous inside pressure.
- Stay away from windows. Stay in the center of the room, or in an inside room.
- If flooding begins, turn off electricity.
- Listen to the radio or tv for advisories. so that everyone knows where to go.
- Communicate with all family members
- Turn off utilities, including gas, water and electricity.
- Take your pets with you. If a shelter will not allow pets, leave them in a secure place with food and water to last for several days. Never tie them up, as they won’t be able to escape in the face of danger.
- Lock doors and windows.
- Leave a message for authorities notifying them where you will be.
- Take important documents, including your insurance policies.
- Bring emergency supplies, such as battery powered radio, cell phones, flashlights, extra batteries, prescriptions, first aid kit, non-perishable food and water.
- When advised to leave, go as soon as possible. Follow recommended routes only and keep your radio on for current storm information.
After the Storm .
- Check to be sure all family members are safe
- Notify your insurance agent as soon as possible if you have experienced damage.
- Wear shoes around debris to avoid injuries. Keep your family away from fallen power lines. And when beginning the cleanup process, use protective gear such as eyewear or gloves.
- Dispose of any impaired items touched by floodwater (food, drinks, and medicine).
- Check utilities. Turn them off if you suspect damage, and let the power company handle.
- Create a list of damaged property and if possible take photographs and/or video. Do not dispose of damaged items without prior approval from your insurance claims adjuster.
- Keep an accurate record of any temporary repairs or expenses so that they may be considered in your claim.
- If there was an evacuation, wait for official notice that it is safe to re-enter your home. When returning to your home, be cautious when entering a damaged structure. Stay away from damaged or weakened walls.
- Be prepared in advance. Taking the appropriate actions to protect your family and property can help to prevent or mitigate injury or losses.
If you have any questions, need advice, or want a quote, call us at 800-548-2329 or Click Here.