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It’s National Preparedness Month: Are you ready for the storm?

By Staff | Sep 28, 2017

The 2017 Hurricane Season has been disastrous for many Americans, and it continues to produce threatening storms.

Anyone who has ever survived a severe storm or hurricane knows that the damage can be overwhelming – emotionally and financially.

September is National Preparedness Month, so let’s use this time to get ready for the next big storm. Here are some tips to help minimize damage to your property during the storm and aid your recovery after:

Organize your important papers and store them off-site, in a bank safe-deposit box or some other secure location. Your mortgage, home and auto insurance policies, birth certificates, passports and other important papers should be in a safe, dry location that you can access even if your home is damaged. Store other papers and keepsakes in plastic, sealable bags on a high shelf to avoid flood damage.

Create a home inventory of your possessions to expedite insurance claims after the storm and keep it with your important papers off-site. It’s much easier to file a claim with an existing inventory rather than trying to create one during the stressful post-storm period.

Put together an emergency kit of bottled water, flashlights, crank- or battery-operated radio, non-spoilable food, extra clothing, sleeping bags and blankets. These items can come in handy if you have to leave your home and temporarily move into a public shelter.

Create an easily accessible emergency fund, if possible, to streamline your post-storm recovery.

Board up windows and glass doors with shutters or plywood to minimize damage from broken glass, in case of high winds.

Move your car into the garage or some other place where it will be sheltered. If you don’t have a garage, move it to higher ground, in case of flooding.

Bring outdoor furniture and potted plants inside. Store your gas grill safely indoors and shut off the propane tank. Anything that can be picked up by the wind and blown against your home should be secured ahead of time.

Prune branches that might break off during the storm and either hurt someone or cause damage to your home or vehicle.

Rent or purchase an emergency generator, if feasible. A powerful storm can knock out power to your home for days, even weeks. With a generator, you can continue running your refrigerator and keep some lights on.

Finally, meet with your insurance agent to review your policies and make sure you have the right coverage to fit your needs. Typically, you need to add an endorsement to your home policy to cover damage caused by hurricane, and flood damage is typically not covered but can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program. A few other options your agent can help you determine is what type of deductible to consider and if your policy has kept up with current rebuilding costs.

Are you prepared for Hawaii’s next big storm? For a free review of your policy, contact Allen Inda at (808) 667-5433. We are located at the West Maui Center, 910 Honoapiilani Highway, Unit #4, Lahaina, HI 96761. Office hours are Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and after hours by appointment. Or, visit our website at indainsurance.com.