The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance is urging the insurance and banking companies it regulates, as well as New Jersey residents, to prepare now for hurricane season, which officially begins June 1.
All Garden State residents should have an evacuation plan, updated insurance information and the supplies they need to be prepared for storm response and recovery. The department also issued bulletins to the insurance and banking industries it regulates on the need for these firms to update their contact numbers and review their emergency preparation plans.
“Hurricanes bring many hazards to New Jersey’s coastal communities and inland areas, including storm surge along the ocean and tidal basin shorelines and inland flooding due to heavy rainfall,” said Acting Commissioner Marlene Caride in a New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance press release. “Strong winds and flash floods can do heavy damage to property and can endanger residents who decide to shelter-in-place. Getting ready now, before hurricane season begins, will empower New Jersey residents and the financial industries that serve them to effectively respond to a storm and recover faster.”
Understanding Flood Insurance
The department issued a reminder that 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 from many licensed agents and insurers.
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, the department reminded. Private flood insurance can also be purchased in some instances. Consumers can begin shopping for private flood insurance in New Jersey by consulting the department’s private flood insurer list.
For automobiles, flood is typically covered under the “comprehensive” or “other than collision” coverage section of a policy, according to the release.
Preparing for Storms
The department urged New Jersey residents to make a complete list of all of the belongings in their home, which can make it easier to file an insurance claim in the event of property damage.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has an iPhone application that can capture images, descriptions, bar codes and serial numbers of consumers’ possessions. It also organizes information room-by-room and creates a back-up file for email sharing.
The release stated consumers should also gather all insurance documents in one safe place along with their home inventory list and review policies before a storm hits to understand the coverage they have purchased, including any applicable deductibles.
In order to prepare their homes for a storm, the department encouraged New Jersey residents to double check that storm shutters can be quickly installed or used, keep yards and property free of debris and clutter, trim dead or overhanging branches from trees and secure loose-end gables or roof sheathing. It is also important to plan an evacuation route and create an emergency kit, according to the release.
Source: New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance
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