Statistics Show Homeowners Are Not Prepared for Hurricane Season
Homeowners Along the Coasts Are Encouraged to Start Planning Now
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – While hurricane season starts next week, tens of thousands of residents along the Atlantic coast are still picking up the pieces after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma destroyed thousands of homes last year. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there were 17 named storms in 2017 and six of those were categorized as major hurricanes. Researchers from Colorado State University say the 2018 hurricane season could be just as busy with a slightly above average number of hurricanes in the Atlantic. However, statistics show Americans along the coast are not prepared or protected if a hurricane were to make landfall in their area.
During a tropical storm or hurricane, the storm surge, as well as flooding caused by heavy rains, typically cause the most destruction. Yet, most homeowners along the coast do not have adequate protection for damage caused by flooding. According to a 2016 survey by the Insurance Information Institute, only 14 percent of homeowners in the south have a flood insurance policy. Nationally, only 12 percent of homeowners have such a policy.
“Many homeowners mistakenly believe their homeowners policy will cover damage caused by a flood. However, most standard homeowners’ policies don’t cover flood,” said John Butkus, director of property claims for COUNTRY Financial. The National Flood Insurance Program, created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), offers flood insurance protection.
“If the predictions are accurate and the U.S. experiences more hurricanes than usual, homeowners need to take steps now to get prepared,” Butkus said. “The last position you want to be in is to be asking your insurance agent about insurance coverage after a storm hits only to find you are not covered.”
Tips for residents in hurricane prone areas
Homeowner and renters along the coast should take steps now to prepare before the hurricane season begins:
- Ask your insurance agent about flood insurance protection or contact the National Flood Insurance Program at 800-427-4661 or visit FloodSmart.gov.
- Make copies of important documents, such as social security cards, birth certificates, and passports, and store them in a dry place. Keep your original documents in a safety deposit box.
- Create an emergency supply kit with food, bottled water, first aid supplies and medicines, backup cell phone battery, and a battery-operated radio.
- Create an evacuate route and make sure your family knows it.
- Create a plan for your pets. Some emergency shelters will take pets, however, others will not.
- Create an inventory or list of your household valuables and take photos of them. This will be important if you file an insurance claim after the storm.
“Taking steps to prepare now will save time and stress later,” Butkus said.
About COUNTRY Financial
COUNTRY Financial is a marketing name for COUNTRY Life Insurance Company®, COUNTRY Mutual Insurance Company® and their respective subsidiaries, located in Bloomington, IL. COUNTRY Financial serves about one million households and businesses throughout the United States and offers a wide range of insurance and financial products and services.