NEW YORK, Aug. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ten years after the costliest hurricane in U.S. history, Hurricane Katrina is being remembered for its devastating toll on residents in six coastal states. Insured losses from Hurricane Katrina totaled over $41 billion and underscored the importance of recognizing the risk of and planning for natural disasters, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
The following four key lessons from Hurricane Katrina can help consumers build a preparedness mindset that will stand as a defense against severe weather threats.
Consider Purchasing a Flood Insurance Policy A key lesson learned from Katrina was that neither a home nor a renters insurance policy covers flood damage. Yet, according to a 2014 I.I.I. poll, only 13 percent of American homeowners have a flood insurance policy. This percentage has remained the same since 2009. Since 1968, flood coverage has been available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It is also sold by some private insurers. Talk to your insurance professional to make sure that you have enough insurance to replace your personal possessions and rebuild your home.
The maximum amount of NFIP coverage available to homeowners is $250,000 for the home and $100,000 for the home's contents. For higher coverage levels, ask about excess flood insurance from private insurance companies.
Keep an Up-to-Date Home Inventory An inventory of personal possessions makes it simpler to purchase the right amount of coverage, as well as making the claims filing process easier and more accurate. It can also be helpful when filing for financial assistance after a disaster. The I.I.I. has information on how to conduct a home inventory, as well as a free Know Your Stuff® home inventory tool.
Have an Evacuation Plan In the event of a disaster, there may be only hours to evacuate—in order for an evacuation to go smoothly when a storm is imminent, it is important to plan and practice in advance. Have emergency supplies, including medicines, extra clothing, comfort items and important papers gathered and ready to go. Knowing where to evacuate to and the planned route is equally important. And be sure to take into account any special accommodations that need to be made for elderly relatives, a family member with special needs or pets. The I.I.I. has information on disaster planning with pets as well as the free Know Your Plan app.
Take Steps to Protect Property Strengthening the roof, windows, doors and protecting all openings are important steps in safeguarding both the structure of a house and its occupants. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety has practical tips for reducing property damage to help homeowners prepare for and recover from a storm.
On Thursday, August 27, I.I.I. subject matter experts will be available to conduct television and radio interviews via satellite from 6 a.m. to 12 noon, ET, on lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina. Reporters interested in booking an interview may contact Susan Higgins at [email protected] or 212-736-2727.
The I.I.I. has a full library of educational videos on its You Tube Channel. Information about I.I.I. mobile apps can be found here.
THE I.I.I. IS A NONPROFIT, COMMUNICATIONS ORGANIZATION SUPPORTED BY THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY.
Insurance Information Institute, 110 William Street, New York, NY 10038; (212) 346-5500; www.iii.org