LOS ANGELES, June 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- AccuWeather predicts 2016 will be the most active Atlantic hurricane season in three years, with 14 named storms in the Atlantic basin, eight of which are predicted to become hurricanes and four slated to be major hurricanes. Although Florida and Texas are the two states most commonly hit by hurricanes, all states along the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico are vulnerable during Atlantic hurricane season (June 1 until November 30)1, and Mercury Insurance (NYSE: MCY) is urging people to take precautions to protect themselves ahead of time.
"Hurricanes can be unpredictable because there are a lot of factors that determine their strength and the path on which they will travel," says Randy Petro, Mercury's chief claims officer. "However, if one is predicted to make landfall near your area, don't try to ride out the storm. It's always better to be safe than sorry, so evacuate when officials instruct you to do so."
Here are a few things you can do to prepare for a hurricane.
- Stock an emergency kit. If you are unable to stay with family or friends out of town, or you were unable to evacuate, be sure to keep the following items handy:
- 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 flashlight;
- A first aid kit;
- A whistle to signal for help;
- A can opener;
- Pliers or a wrench to turn off utilities;
- $200 in cash in small bills, as power may be out, making ATM, debit and credit cards unusable; and
- Prescriptions for you 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.
- 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, social security cards, important financial documents, passports and other identification. Scan a set of these documents and bring them with you on flash drive, or upload them to a cloud based digital storage site.
- Call your local insurance agent. Verify what is and is not covered in the event you're affected by a hurricane. 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. If your vehicle is damaged in a hurricane, it may be covered by your auto insurance policy if you carry comprehensive coverage, but it's best to make sure.
Petro also advises policyholders to follow a few simple procedures to help speed up claims if your home or vehicle is impacted 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 adjuster, if these are available.
- Keep copies of communications between you and your adjuster.
- Keep records and receipts for additional living expenses that were incurred if you were forced to leave your home, and provide copies to your adjuster.
Visit Mercury's blog to learn more tips to protect your home and family.
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.com/MercuryInsurance and follow the company on Twitter.
1 Mercury Insurance offers homeowners and auto insurance in the following states along the U.S. coastline that might be impacted by a hurricane: Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and Texas. Mercury auto insurance is available in Florida.
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SOURCE Mercury Insurance