TRENTON – Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Richard J. Badolato is reminding New Jersey residents, particularly those who live in coastal areas, to double check their preparations now that the 2017 Hurricane Season has arrived. Prior to Hurricane Season, this past spring, the Commissioner also reminded licensees regulated by the Insurance and Banking Divisions to update their preparations for disaster.
In April, the Department issued bulletins to Insurance and Banking licensees requesting emergency contact information updates to be supplied to DOBI. The bulletins also instructed licensees to review and update their disaster response plans.
“While the most active part of the hurricane season happens in late August through the fall, we know from experience that disasters can happen any time of the year,” said Commissioner Badolato. “Now is a good time for New Jersey residents to join the licensees this Department regulates in reviewing and updating their disaster response plans as the 2017 hurricane season is upon us.”
- Flood insurance is not part of most insurance policies written for homeowners, as well as policies for condominium-owners and renters. Consumers can purchase a flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federal program which is the primary provider of flood insurance for residential property. These flood policies can be purchased directly from the NFIP and also from many licensed agents and insurers.
- Consumers should be aware that flood insurance is not effective until 30 days after it is sold. Therefore, consumers who want flood insurance for this storm season should contact an approved flood insurance agent immediately and not wait for another approaching storm.
- For more information about flood insurance through the NFIP, go to: www.floodsmart.gov
- Private flood insurance can also be purchased in some instances. For a list of insurers selling private flood insurance in New Jersey, go to: www.state.nj.us/dobi/division_consumers/insurance/homeownercontacts.htm#flood
- For automobiles, flood is typically covered under the “Comprehensive” or “Other than Collision” coverage section of your policy. You should check to see if you have this coverage. Separate policies are not available to cover flood for automobiles.
Review Your Insurance Information
- Consumers should gather all of their insurance documents in one safe place along with a home inventory.
- Consumers should make a list that includes company/agent names, policy numbers and contact information including phone numbers, websites and mailing addresses. They should also check to see if their carrier has set up an emergency information hotline. Consumers should keep this information with them during an evacuation in the event their residence is inaccessible after a storm.
- Consumers need to review policies before a stormhits and understand the coverage they have purchased, including any applicable deductibles.
- Consumers should call their carrier before a storm with any questions in order to better understand their coverage and the claim process should they need to file a claim following a loss.
- Double check that storm shutters, if applicable, can be quickly installed or used.
- Keep yards and property free of debris and clutter to eliminate potentially hazardous projectiles in strong winds.
- Trim dead or overhanging branches from trees, especially near the house or other structures.
- Secure loose end gables or roof sheathing and make certain doors latch properly.
- Plan an evacuation route for the family and identify the nearest storm shelter.
- Create an emergency kit that includes survival supplies, such as bottled water, first aid items, flashlights, a battery operated radio, three days of non-perishable food items, blankets, clothing, prescription drugs, eyeglasses, personal hygiene supplies and enough cash for at least three days.
- Create a go-bag and emergency plan for your pet and farm animals as well. Visit the New Jersey Animal Emergency website at www.animalemergency.nj.gov.
- Keep a full tank of gas in your car in advance of any potential storm.
- Ensure generators are in working order.
- Once a mandatory evacuation order is issued, residents should depart as soon as possible.
- Before vacating their property, residents should turn off utilities and disconnect appliances to reduce the chance of additional damage and electric shock when utilities are restored.
- Evacuees should plan more than one route in case the preferred one is closed due to an emergency.
For more information
Go to the Department’s website at: www.state.nj.us/dobi/division_consumers/insurance/hurricane.htm
To learn more about hurricane preparedness in New Jersey: http://ready.nj.gov/plan-prepare/hurricanes.shtml
For the National Hurricane Center: www.nhc.noaa.gov/
For more about coverage, visit: www.insctrs.com or call us at (855) 467-2877