Insurers Advise Texas Gulf Residents to Prep for Hurricanes as Season Unfolds

July 15, 2005

Residents along the Gulf Coast of Texas can learn a lot from the experiences of those people in Florida who were victims of multiple hurricanes last year, according Sandra Ray, public affairs director of Southwestern Insurance Information Service.

Current NOAA National Hurricane Center tracking maps show Hurricane Emily, which struck the Caribbean island of Grenada with 135 mph winds, on a possible path to Northern Mexico or South Texas sometime next week. It is expected to cross Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on Sunday.

“If a hurricane or large tropical storm were to strike anywhere within the 15 coastal counties of Texas the task of filing and settling an insurance claim will be much less time consuming by following some simple steps,” Ray said.

“Many people wait until a hurricane watch is posted before they prepare documentation which makes submitting a claim easier,” she said.

“Take an inventory of the possessions in your home,” she advised. “Photos or video tape recordings of these items are very helpful to claim adjusters if damage occurs.”

Review your insurance policy to be certain adequate coverage is provided. If questions arise, talk to your insurance agent, Ray said.

“Flooding is not typically covered by the standard Texas homeowners insurance policy,” she explained. “Insurance agents can help you find flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. In addition, a flood insurance policy takes 30 days to become effective after it is purchased. Homeowners should purchase this well in advance of the season.”

Conservative estimates indicate that about 50 percent of those who rent do not have insurance to cover their household belongings, Ray added. Now would be the time to consider purchasing renters insurance.

“A hand-written or video tape inventory, as well as your homeowners insurance policy should be moved to a safe place away from the path of the storm to avoid damage,” she said.

Ray said business owners should follow the same precautions as well as a few others.

“Company files should be stored offline and digital photos should be taken of all equipment such as computers and office furniture,” she noted. “Important documents should be scanned and stored in a safe location.”

“It is far too early for the experts to predict the direction of Hurricane Emily, but now, not later, is the time to begin thinking about taking action which will make claim filing easier,” she concluded.

SIIS is the oldest state insurance trade organization in the country representing insurers writing 85 percent of homeowners and auto insurance in Texas as well as the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association and the Texas FAIR Plan.

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