It’s critical for residents on the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico to make preparations before more severe weather threatens their families and property.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (June 2, 2020) – Mercury Insurance (NYSE: MCY) is urging residents along the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico to take precautions and prepare themselves, their families and property in advance of the Atlantic hurricane season (June 1 until November 30).
“Hurricane season off to a fast start with three tropical storms already named, so it’s critical for residents on the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico to make preparations before more severe weather threatens their families and property,” says Christopher O’Rourke, Mercury’s vice president of property claims. “Create a plan with your family so everyone knows where to go, what to pack and how to get your home ready for any upcoming storms. This way, you won’t be caught off-guard if a hurricane is heading your way and you’re instructed to evacuate.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently announced that this year’s Atlantic hurricane season is forecasted to most likely be “above-normal,” with an estimated 13 to 19 named storms, of which up to 10 could become hurricanes. Tropical Storms Arthur and Bertha already formed in May, and Tropical Storm Cristobal is currently churning its way through the western portion of the Gulf of Mexico.
O’Rourke advises homeowners to take the following steps to prepare their homes for a hurricane:
- Pack a go-bag. There are several essential items to have at the ready in case of an emergency, especially if you need to leave your home quickly. A primary go-bag – or emergency kit – should be stored in an easily accessible place within your house or garage. Smaller kits can be kept in your car or at work. Take stock of your go-bag yearly to make sure your items are up-to-date, including:
- A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person), non-perishable food items and pet food, if applicable;
- A battery-powered or hand-crank radio (and extra batteries);
- A phone charger;
- A flashlight;
- A first aid kit;
- A whistle to signal for help;
- A can opener;
- Gloves, face masks, hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes;
- Pliers or a wrench to turn off utilities;
- At least $200 in cash in small bills, as power may be out, making ATMs, debit and credit cards unusable; and
- Prescriptions for you, your family and your pets.
- Create an emergency plan. Know where family members will meet if instructed to evacuate, as well as several options to get out of the city in case routes are blocked. Establish a meeting point ahead of time. Staying with friends or family who live outside of the local area is a good option, but you should also research hotels and shelters, as resources may be limited this year due to the pandemic.
- Be aware of flood zones in your area. Hurricanes can cause high winds, flying debris and flash flooding. Get out of town and go to higher ground. If your home is located in a flood zone and you can’t leave before the storm, remain indoors and get to the highest level possible.
- Reinforce your home. Close shutters or use plywood to board up windows and doors. Secure outdoor furniture, potted plants and other items that could become projectiles during the storm.
- Store important documents in a safe place. This includes copies of insurance policies, birth certificates, medical records and prescriptions, social security cards, important financial documents, passports and other identification, which should be stored in a waterproof container. Upload scanned copies of these documents to a cloud-based digital storage site so they’re easily accessible from your smartphone or computer if needed.
“Homeowners insurance doesn’t usually cover weather-related flooding, but flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program. If you live in a high-risk area, consider purchasing a policy,” adds O’Rourke. “Vehicle damage may be covered by your auto insurance policy if you carry comprehensive coverage, but it’s best to make sure. Your local Mercury Insurance agent is able to help verify what is and is not covered in the event you’re affected by a hurricane.”
O’Rourke also advises policyholders to follow a few simple procedures to help speed up the claims process if your home or vehicle is affected by a hurricane.
When filing a claim
- Contact Mercury immediately to report your loss.
- Be prepared to provide your policy number.
- Do not remove debris or damaged property that may be related to your claim.
Steps after filing a claim
- Prepare a detailed inventory of destroyed or damaged property.
- Offer photos or videos of your home and possessions to your claims representative.
- Keep copies of communications between you and your claims representative.
- Keep records and receipts for additional living expenses that were incurred if you were forced to leave your home, and provide copies to your claims representative.
Visit Mercury’s Catastrophe Center to learn more about how to protect yourself, your family and your property before a natural disaster happens.
About Mercury Insurance
Mercury Insurance (MCY) is a multiple-line insurance organization predominantly offering personal automobile, homeowners and commercial insurance through a network of independent agents in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. Since 1962, Mercury has specialized in offering quality insurance at affordable prices. For more information visit www.mercuryinsurance.com or Facebook and follow the company on Twitter.