Residents in hurricane-prone states are not taking necessary steps to protect their property this hurricane season despite the severity of last year’s storms, according to a new poll conducted online by SurveyMonkey on behalf of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI). The poll found 56 percent of residents across Texas, North Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida have not taken any precautions this year in advance of hurricane season.
Only 35 percent said that last year’s storms prompted them to take any precautions this year.
“Last year’s storms should have served as a wake-up call for residents in hurricane-prone states to take the necessary precautions to protect their property and their family,” said Joe Woods, vice president, state government relations for PCI. “Unfortunately, far too many homes remain underinsured, residents are unfamiliar with evacuation plans, and contractor fraud and abuse is far too prevalent.”
The poll also found that only half of the residents are familiar with their local municipality, county, or state evacuation plan and less than half (48%) have developed an emergency plan and shared it with their household.
Furthermore, the poll found that 55 percent in hurricane-prone states do not have an emergency bag, which includes necessities such as medication, non-perishable food, and water. Even among those whose homes were damaged by last year’s storms, only 53 percent have this bag prepared.
And nearly two-thirds (63%) of all residents have not conducted a home inventory in the event that property and/or possessions are destroyed, damaged, or lost in a disaster. That number drops only slightly (52%) among those whose homes were damaged last year.
FLOOD ZONE DANGERS
- 14 percent of residents do not know if their existing homeowners or renters insurance policy covers flood damage.
- 70 percent have not spoken to their homeowners or renters insurance company about obtaining additional coverage such as flood insurance.
- Nearly three-quarters (74%) think flood insurance is necessary to help in recovery efforts following a natural disaster
- Close to one-third (32%) of residents do not have readily available cash or savings to meet short term expenses that may arise following a natural disaster.
- 35 percent say they have not stored important financial papers and documents in a safe deposit box or online for easy access.
CONTRACTOR FRAUD & ABUSE
Following a severe storm it is common for crooked contractors to try and take advantage of consumers needing repairs, according to PCI. These contractors make false promises, take full payment upfront and never finish the work or even create damage where none existed.
- 72 percent are at least somewhat familiar with the signs of contractor fraud and abuse.
- Yet, 14 percent said they would pay upfront for the rebuilding or repair costs if it meant getting their property fixed more quickly. 20 percent said they aren’t sure if they would.
- 10 percent of residents would accept an unsolicited offer from someone to make repairs to their home. 16% aren’t sure if they would.
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