LOS ANGELES, Oct. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Hurricane Sandy tore through the Bahamas with winds in excess of 100 mph and now has her sights set on the U.S. Atlantic Coast. Mercury's mobile claims team has been mobilized and stands ready to assist policy holders in the event the storm makes landfall along the Eastern Seaboard. Mercury customers can report losses and damages through the claims hotline at (800) 503-3724.
"Events such as Sandy can be devastating for those impacted by the storm," says Mercury Chief Claims Officer Joanna Moore. "We have mobilized our claims teams so we can respond quickly to our customers' requests for help. Whether it's providing living expenses while they are out of their homes or facilitating claims, our team is ready to provide Mercury policyholders with the assistance they need."
Moore says Mercury Insurance encourages residents along the East Coast to begin preparing for Sandy ASAP by knowing evacuation routes, having emergency equipment in working order and purchasing at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and drinking water.
"Water surges and high winds can precede the main event, so it is extremely important to comply with evacuation notices," says Moore. "Purchase food, water, first aid kits and a full tank of gas as soon as you can to avoid lines and delays in leaving before the storm hits."
Mercury claims adjusters will assess damage to policy holders' 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.
Mercury is offering tips to homeowners that will help prepare families for the coming hurricane. Disaster preparedness is essential to preventing injuries and property damage from violent and deadly storms.
1. 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 Evacuation Kit should include a map and a GPS—in case street signs are blown down. Remember to include family pets in your plans.
2. Create a home inventory. Develop a complete home inventory of your personal property. The Insurance Information Institute offers free, online "Know Your Stuff" software, which can be downloaded at: www.knowyourstuff.org/iii/login.html. Assure the home inventory is securely stored online and accessible from anywhere at any time, if your home is destroyed by a hurricane or other disaster. Well-documented home inventories may serve to expedite the claims process, as well as substantiate losses for income tax purposes.
3. Plan what to take. Prepare an Evacuation Kit that includes essentials, such as medicines and comfort items like children's toys or books. Your Evacuation Kit should also include:
- Bottled water
- Clothing and bedding (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 items for pets (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 park it facing out
4. 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 stored in a handy, easily accessible place.
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 – what's in your Evacuation Kit, a container that is waterproof and fireproof
- Driver's license or other personal identification
- Insurance policies
- Employment information and copies of pay stubs for the past 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
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.
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