Loss Prevention Tips
The following steps should be taken by every homeowner before a disaster to assure a speedy, hassle-free recovery after a loss:
Home Coverage and Preparedness Tips
- Check with your insurance agent to assure adequate coverage is provided by your homeowners’ insurance policy. Remember to notify agents of any improvements or additions to the home.
- If your homeowners’ insurance policy does not have wind/hail coverage, you will need to purchase separate coverage, which has a 15-day waiting period. Consult your insurance agent.
- Check with your insurance agent to determine if you need flood insurance. Flood insurance is not part of most homeowners’, mobile home or rental insurance policies. You will need to purchase separate coverage, which has a 30-day waiting period.
- Investigate purchasing replacement-cost coverage for your home and its contents. This option provides for the rebuilding or replacement of damaged property and belongings at current costs, rather than depreciated values.
- Check your policy for “loss of use” coverage. If you are required to seek temporary shelter due to a covered loss, such as a tornado, many policies will cover these expenses up to a certain amount. If your home is uninhabitable because of physical damage, most homeowners’ policies will pay additional living expenses while your property is being repaired. Lack of power and water is not considered physical damage and, therefore, additional living expenses will not be covered.
- Consider constructing an underground or in-home shelter. (See Shelter Information Sheet.)
A Home Inventory Will Assist In Settling Claims
- It is important that you videotape, photograph or compile a written inventory of your home and belongings.
- Keep the inventory off-premises in a safety deposit box or with an out-of-the area contact. The inventory will provide a record for you and the insurance company should a loss occur.
- Go through each room of your home and list every item, including the purchase date, price, model and serial numbers, if applicable. Don’t forget closets, the garage and the basement.
- Include the appraised value of antiques, jewelry and other costly possessions. Attach professional, written appraisals when necessary.
- Slowly pan the camera around the room in order to capture each item on film.
- Obtain close-ups of expensive items, such as jewelry, fine art, antiques, stamp collections, etc.
- Consider grouping items for easier inventory.
- Narrate the video by noting purchase cost and date, model and serial numbers on appliances and other appropriate items.
- Update your inventory every two-to-three years.
Automobile Coverage and Preparedness Tips
- If damaged by windstorms or hail, most vehicles are protected under the “other than collision” (comprehensive) portion of an automobile insurance policy. Check with your insurance agent to be certain of your automobile coverage.
- If severe weather threatens, move vehicles to covered area to prevent damage from high winds, flying debris and hail.
After the Loss Insurance Tips
- Contact your insurance agent or company representative as soon as possible and ask for instructions on what to do until your adjuster arrives.
- Begin preparing an inventory of personal property damaged or destroyed, and take pictures of the damaged property.
- Protect your property from further damage. Your reasonable expenses to protect your property are part of the loss and are generally reimbursed by insurance companies. Keep all receipts.
- Do not have permanent repairs made until your insurance company has inspected the property and you have reached an agreement on cost of repairs.
- Use reliable, licensed contractors for repairs. Do not pay in cash.
Flood Insurance, Disaster Assistance and You
“Will disaster assistance be available if my home or business is flooded?”
“How expensive is flood insurance?”
If you have questions about whether or not you need flood insurance, consider the following:
- Most forms of federal disaster assistance, including FEMA’s Temporary Housing and Individual and Family Grant Programs, are only offered if the President declares a major disaster.
- 90 percent of all disasters are not presidentially declared.
- The most typical form of federal disaster assistance is a Small Business Administration loan that must be paid back with interest. The average duration and loan payment for a disaster home loan is 18.5 years and $140 a month.
- To qualify for home repair assistance, your home must have relatively minor damages that can be repaired quickly. No rental assistance is available unless your home has been destroyed or significantly damaged.
- The average Individual and Family Grant is less than $2,500.
- Floods are the most common natural disaster with 80 percent of all presidentially declared disasters involving floods.
- Buildings in flood hazard areas have a 26 percent chance of being flooded during a 30-year mortgage.
- The average premium for a National Flood Insurance Program policy in North Carolina is $318.00.
- Homeowners, business owners, and renters can all purchase flood insurance as long as their community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. Even if a disaster is not declared by the President, flood insurance claims are paid.
- When you carry a flood insurance policy and file a flood insurance claim, usually you get a partial payment immediately.
- Flood insurance reimburses you for all covered losses. Disaster aid is limited to replacing essential items only. Homeowners can get up to $250,000 of coverage and businesses up to $500,000. Separate contents coverage also is available.
- Maintaining a flood insurance policy is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and reduce the cost of flood disasters.
Flood Insurance Facts
- Flooding is not covered by a standard homeowner’s insurance policy.
- Flood insurance is available in most North Carolina communities. More than 300 communities participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
- Any walled and roofed building in an NFIP-participating community is eligible, whether or not the building is located in a floodplain. Manufactured homes installed on a permanent site and anchored also can be insured.
- Any licensed property casualty insurance agent or broker can sell the Standard Flood Insurance Policy.
- There is a 30-day waiting period after a policy is purchased before coverage goes into effect. However, if a policy is required by a lender as a condition for obtaining a mortgage, then the coverage takes effect at closing.
- Two types of coverage are available:
1. Structural coverage on walls, floors, insulation, furnace, and items permanently attached to the structure;
2. Contents coverage for such items as furniture, appliance and other household goods. This coverage must be purchased separately from structural coverage.