Make sure you are ready to recover after a hurricane hits the coast. Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts a 90% chance the 2020 hurricane season will have average or above average storm activity, with up to six major hurricanes and 13 to 19 named storms.
Even with the best forecasts, it can be hard to know what to expect from hurricane season – which is this year complicated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But your recovery from a storm can be planned in advance. Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) urges coastal communities and policyholders to protect themselves, their families, and their property by taking the following steps today.
1. Being prepared means being insured
Make sure you have both windstorm (wind and hail) and flood insurance well in advance of any storm. Most insurance companies, including TWIA, cannot offer a windstorm policy once a storm appears in the Gulf of Mexico (learn more). Flood coverage (which TWIA cannot provide) is offered through the National Flood Insurance Program and requires a 30-day waiting period after you purchase it before it becomes effective.
Understand what is included in your policy to avoid any surprises, and insure your property for what it would cost to rebuild, not current market value. Now is the time to meet with your insurance agent to update your policy. Visit our Inside a Policy page to learn more about TWIA policies, and our Policy Forms and Endorsements page to see examples of specific documents.
2. Take pictures of your home and personal property
Document your home and belongings with photos or video. If you need to file a claim, having an inventory will help expedite that process and help ensure an accurate claim payment for your covered belongings. Email a copy of it and other important documents to yourself, upload it to an online cloud storage account (ex: Google Drive, Dropbox, or Amazon Drive), or mail physical copies to someone who lives outside the hurricane zone.
3. Prepare your property
A little preparation now can go a long way in reducing property damage during a storm. Install storm shutters (alternatively, cut plywood so it’s ready to install over windows in the build-up to a storm), trim trees, install roof straps, reinforce garage doors, and clear rain gutters and downspouts.
4. Write down your emergency plan and build an emergency kit
Make a plan for you and your family and practice it. Consider any additional precautions you may need to take to reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19. Know your area’s evacuation routes and where you can stay if you are ordered to evacuate. Create a list of important contacts and sign up for local emergency alerts.
Assemble an emergency kit that includes important basics (ex: masks, hand sanitizer, water, nonperishable food, flashlight, batteries, etc.) and covers the unique needs of your family and pets. Because disasters can strike anywhere, make multiple kits: one for your home, one for your work, and one for your car. Ready.gov has additional tips to consider when building your kit.
5. Know where your important documents are located
Know where your important documents (ex: insurance policies, birth certificates, marriage licenses, passports, mortgage papers, social security cards, etc.) are located. Don’t leave these items behind when you evacuate.
TWIA Is Prepared, Too
Our Emergency Plan: The TWIA Catastrophe Plan
At the core of our storm preparedness program is the TWIA Catastrophe (CAT) Incident Response Plan, which is updated and tested each year. It outlines how we mitigate the effects of, prepare for, respond to, and recover from catastrophic weather disasters.
2020 Hurricane Season Funding
This year, we have secured access to $4.2 billion in total aggregate funding, which is equal to our statutory funding requirement inclusive of loss adjustment expenses. It includes our deposits totaling $177 million into the Catastrophe Reserve Trust Fund (CRTF) and $2.1 billion in reinsurance. Learn more about TWIA funding on our Funding 101 webpage.
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