Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart wants Delaware residents to prepare for the potential damages and interruptions brought by strong summer storms and hurricanes; the Atlantic hurricane season started June 1. Doing the proper planning now can potentially help save time, money and frustration in the coming months should your home or personal property be negatively impacted by storms, floods or other natural disasters this summer or fall.
Stewart advises, “Now is a great time to update your personal property inventory for your home, or create one if you’ve never done it before. With today’s technology, this process is easier than ever with the help of the free app, MyHome Scr.APP.book, for your smartphone.” The Department of Insurance also has a home inventory PDF that can be printed. The web address appears at the end of this article.
Those who do not have flood insurance and live in a flood-prone area should consider purchasing flood insurance. Homes located at low elevations and near bodies of water, especially along the state’s eastern limits, are particularly susceptible to flooding during strong thunderstorms, tropical storms and hurricanes. Most flood policies require a 30-day waiting period before they become effective. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, just a single inch of floodwater can cause more than $10,000 in damage to a home.
The Delaware Department of Insurance suggests that, before disaster strikes, residents should do the following: keep all insurance policies in an easily accessible location; understand the deductible provision of the policy; if forced to evacuate, keep all insurance information, including name of insurer and agent; understand claim procedures; insure property up to 80 percent of the value of the home; keep health coverage and prescription information with insurance records in case of evacuation.
“For the best protection, consider scanning all of these important documents and saving them in your personal email or online storage account,” said Stewart. “That way, if documents are lost in a disaster, you can still access them from anywhere. Be prepared; you’ll thank yourself later!”
The Delaware Department of Insurance also recommends residents have evacuation plans and prepare an emergency supply kit. A supply kit should contain plenty of bottled water, a first aid kit, flashlights, a battery-powered radio, nonperishable food items, blankets, clothing, prescription drugs, eyeglasses, personal hygiene supplies, and a small amount of cash or traveler’s checks. Also, in an evacuation of the home, turn off all utilities to reduce the chance of additional damage and electrical shock when utilities are restored.
The Department of Insurance offers an abundance of information for storm preparedness at http://delawareinsurance.gov/departments/consumer/StormPrepare.shtml.
The Delaware Department of Insurance invites Delawareans to find out about storm preparedness and more at www.delawareinsurance.gov. From the homepage, connect to Facebook and Twitter where helpful information is posted on a regular basis. Consumers with questions about their insurance can always call the Consumer Services Division at 1-800-282-8611.