Delaware Insurance Commissioner Advises Residents in Case of Hurricane Matthew

October 6, 2016

Delaware Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart is encouraging Delaware residents to take action now to prepare for potential damages and interruptions from Hurricane Matthew.

Although it is too early to predict the long-term track of the storm, residents are encouraged to review or develop an emergency plan, create or update a home inventory and take action to make their homes as safe as possible to prevent any damage from occurring.

The Atlantic Hurricane season officially ends on November 30. Even if this current storm bypasses the Delaware region, there is still plenty of time for other strong storms to form which could eventually threaten Delaware, according to a press release issued by the Delaware Department of Insurance.

According to the Delaware Department of Insurance, now is an ideal time for residents to update personal property inventory for their homes, or create a new inventory. Having an up-to-date home inventory can make the insurance claims process easier should the home be damaged by a natural disaster.

For the best protection, it is important to take pictures of important documents, or scan and save them in a personal e-mail or online storage account, the press release states. That way, if documents are lost in a disaster, they can still be accessed from anywhere.

It is also recommended that residents have evacuation plans and prepare an emergency supply kit. In the event of an evacuation, residents should turn off all utilities to reduce the chance of additional damage and electrical shock when utilities are restored.

Additionally, residents should keep in mind that traditional homeowners’ insurance will not cover losses due to flooding and storm surges. Only flood insurance will protect a home and property from damage due to flood waters. There is typically a 30-day waiting period from the time of purchasing the policy until it goes in to effect.

With all of this in mind, The Delaware Department of Insurance encourages residents to monitor the storm in the coming days. If the storm tracks toward Delaware, the press release lists these additional precautions for residents to take:

  • Clear gutters of leaves and trim branches that are hanging over the roof.
  • Close and lock all doors and windows to prevent them from blowing open and allowing rain in.
  • Move any items from the yard that could become projectiles and cause damage
  • Make sure to understand the deductible provision of insurance policies.
  • Keep all insurance policies in an easily accessible location.
  • If forced to evacuate, residents should keep insurance records with them at all times, including the name and telephone number of their insurer or insurance agent.
  • Be certain to understand the claim procedures of an insurance company.
  • Make sure to have insurance up to at least 80% of the value on a home to avoid penalties under any co-insurance provision of the policy.
  • Keep all necessary information regarding health coverage, including prescription information, with insurance records in the event of an evacuation.

Source: Delaware Department of Insurance

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