LOS ANGELES, Aug. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Two tropical storms formed in the Atlantic basin prior to hurricane season this year, marking the first time this has happened since 1908. Luckily, hurricane season (June 1 to Nov. 30) has been unexpectedly quiet this year, but it may just be the calm before the storm.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) latest hurricane season forecast predicts a surge of activity between now and November 30. An estimated 12 to 17 tropical storms are expected, with five to eight developing into hurricanes and two to three becoming "major hurricanes" with sustained surface winds of at least 111 mph.
"Being prepared is the key to preventing injuries and property damage from violent and deadly storms," said Joanna Moore, Mercury's chief claims officer. "Mercury is urging homeowners to prepare for heavy rain, wind and flooding, and we have compiled hurricane readiness tips to assist them."
- Arrange your evacuation ahead of time. Plan where you will go in the event of an evacuation. Create an evacuation kit with a list of phone numbers and addresses. Your kit should include a map and a GPS (in case street signs are blown down). Remember to include family pets in your plans.
- Create a home inventory. Establish a complete inventory of your personal property. The Insurance Information Institute offers free, online software, which can be downloaded at: www.knowyourstuff.org/iii/login.html. Well-documented home inventories may serve to expedite the claims process, as well as substantiate losses for income tax purposes.
- Plan what to take. Prepare an evacuation kit that includes essentials, such as medicines and comfort items like children's toys or books. Your kit should also include these kinds of items:
- Bottled water
- Clothing and beddings (sleeping bags and pillows)
- Flashlight, battery-powered radio and extra batteries
- Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members
- Computer hard drive or laptop
- Cell phone chargers
- Pet food, water and other pet-related items (litter boxes, leashes, vaccination records, current photo of your pet)
- Properly identify your pet with identification tags or microchips
- Make sure your vehicle's fuel tank is full and parked facing away from your home
- Gather important documents. Organize important documents in two groups: essential and basic. Original copies of essential documents should be stored in a safe deposit box, which will preserve them during a disaster. Moreover, a safe deposit box will keep essential documents out of circulation and help prevent identity theft. Basic documents should be added to your evacuation kit, which should be easily accessible.
- Essential documents (store these in a safe deposit box)
- Birth and marriage certificates
- Social Security cards
- Wills, living trusts and grant deeds
- Mortgage papers
- Stocks, bonds and other negotiable certificates
- Credit card numbers
- Basic documents (add these to your evacuation kit)
- Checklist of what's in your evacuation kit; store in a container that's waterproof and fireproof
- Driver's license or other personal identification
- Insurance policies
- Employment information and copies of pay stubs from the last two months
- Bank, savings and retirement account numbers
- Mortgage papers (copy)
- Recent tax returns
- Home inventory (copy with photos of expensive items)
- List of important phone numbers and addresses
Mercury, specializing in personal auto and homeowners insurance, encourages customers to review insurance policies each year with their local agents. Mercury customers in Florida, Georgia, Virginia, New Jersey and New York can protect vehicles from hurricane damage by purchasing comprehensive coverage, in addition to liability coverage, which protects only accidents and individuals.
Mercury claims specialists will assess damage to policyholders' property due to rain and wind. Homeowners seeking coverage from flood and debris flows should review the National Flood Insurance Program at www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/about/nfip_overview.jsp.
Additional hurricane preparedness resources:
NOAA National Weather Service: www.weather.gov/safety.php
American Red Cross: www.redcross.org/getprepared
Federal Emergency Management Agency: www.ready.gov
ABOUT MERCURY INSURANCE (www.mercuryinsurance.com)
Mercury Insurance (MCY) is a multiple-line insurance organization predominantly offering personal automobile and homeowners insurance through a network of independent agents in Florida, Georgia, California, New Jersey, Arizona, New York, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Since 1962, Mercury has specialized in offering quality insurance at affordable prices – core values that distinguish Mercury in the marketplace.
SOURCE Mercury Insurance