Is Your Family Prepared for a Tornado, or other Natural Disaster?

Winston-Salem, NC 5/23/2013

As Independent Insurance agents, we not only advise our clients about insurance, we strive to provide our insureds with important disaster readiness guidance. The storms that ripped through Oklahoma earlier this week should serve as motivation to take action with regard to your family's Emergency Plan in the event of a natural disaster.

A good way to begin your planning process is to gather as much information as you can regarding the best practices for disaster planning in your area.   Our agency offers many disaster-specific planning tools and tips for consumers, including the following suggestions to get started:
 
 Make a list of each of your insurance policy numbers and the insurance company name, and keep the information in your wallet, purse, or on your mobile device. For example, nearly all states use some form of a wallet-size auto ID card, which is required to be kept on your person, or in your vehicle. It's a good idea to do have similar information with you for all of your other insurance policies.
 

 Make a detailed written or videotaped inventory of your property and house-hold possessions. Take a video camera and go through every room, taping and describing what you see. For valuable items, note when and where you purchased them and how much you paid for them.  Include the serial numbers of major appliances.

 Make a record of your insurance agent's web address, and keep this information in your wallet, purse or mobile device. After a widespread catastrophe, more and more agencies post information about claims procedures on their web site. This is especially important in cases where the agency itself has been affected, and has set up temporary operations at another location. In addition, agency web sites will usually post emergency insurance claim phone numbers and steps to mitigate possible losses.

 Use social media to contact your insurance agent. Many agencies use some form of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., and these information outlets can provide vital, timely information about claims procedures and other necessary information for policyholders.

 Find out how you and your neighbors would get information and stay up-to-date about an imminent, or evolving, disaster.

 Ask if evacuation routes have been established for your neighborhood and city.

 Contact your city's or town's planning and emergency assistance organizations. Ask them for their best-practices information about disaster planning.

 Contact your children's school(s), and/or day care center, to learn about the emergency plans that they have in place.

 If a family member is in an elder care facility, check to see what emergency procedures they will follow.

 Take a First Aid/CPR class from the American Red Cross.

 If you have pets, have a contingency plan in place. Many emergency shelters won't accept them 

Our agency can provide you with several resources that help guide you through the process of getting your household prepared to deal with these specific situations:

- Preparing a Home Inventory and Storm proofing
- Flood
- Hurricane
- Thunderstorm
- Tornado
- Earthquake
- Wildfires

Most importantly, contact our agency to have us review your current policies to ensure that your home and valuable items are properly protected. 

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