Dorian Is Headed Our Way…Is Florida Ready?

tropical-cyclone-catarina-1167137_1280Tropical storm Dorian is just a few mph away from being upgraded to a hurricane, and experts expect it to strengthen over the weekend and hit Florida sometime on Monday as a potential Category 3 storm. While it might not be classified as another Irma, none of us have forgotten the blow received by Polk County just shy of two short years ago, with some of us still recovering from physical and financial damage. Now that another storm is headed our direction, we thought it was a great time to throw out a few pointers as you prepare for the storm to make sure you’re ready! As insurance professionals here in Winter Haven, we make it our goal to ensure that our friends and neighbors are protected in every way possible, whether it’s related to their coverage or not.

Remember when preparing for a hurricane to…

  • Take a “pre-storm” video for your homeowners insurance. Do a comprehensive video of your home (inside and out) and your property before the storm hits. Show any major outdoor features (fences, play structures, swimming pools, etc.) and if possible, show the preparations taken to protect those items in the storm. For example, if you put up shutters on the windows make sure to show those, take time to film any tie-downs you added to your play structure, and so forth. This video not only serves as proof for making claims, but also means you’re more likely to get your claim taken care of easily since it shows you made an effort to protect your home and there will be no question of whether or not the damages (if there are any) could have been prevented.
  • Stock up on the essentials, no matter the strength of the storm. It doesn’t take huge wind gusts to take out power in some parts of Florida, nor does it take a massive storm surge to affect water supply. Even a “minor” hurricane can cause big problems depending on where it hits along the coastline. Having items like clean drinking water, batteries, flashlights, and even a generator (ONLY to be used outside) is key in making sure you can still take care of yourself and your family in the event of losing power and/or water for a period of time.
  • Take care of chores ahead of time. This might seem silly, but catching up on things like washing and drying laundry, cleaning dirty floors or grungy bathrooms, etc. is a good idea since you might not be able to get to those things if you lose utilities. Being able to start out with a fresh space makes the ordeal more bearable, and having clean linens, clothes, etc. is pertinent in keeping up morale.
  • Have all of your important papers on hand in case of emergency. If you had to evacuate or needed to grab documents quickly in a disaster (like a portion of your home being damaged by wind/water) having them already bundled and in an easy-to-handle package is a smart idea. Place important documents in water-safe bags and label, so they are easy to grab on the run. Include social security cards, deed to your home and vehicles, insurance paperwork, marriage and birth certificates, etc. Also, have your contact information for insurance claims easily accessible as filing ASAP after a storm will mean a faster turn around time for you.

Carroll Marshall Insurance is gearing up for the storm with you, and we will be here and ready to serve before, during, and after Dorian. Give us a call if you have questions about your policy, need to know about filing a claim, or will be adding additional coverage (like a hurricane policy!) following this storm. Good luck to all of our friends and neighbors here in Florida!

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