September is National Preparedness Month. This annual reminder that hurricanes, floods, fires, and other disasters happen includes covering themes such as "Make and Practice Your Plan," "Learn Life-Saving Skills," "Check Your Insurance Coverage," and "Save for an Emergency." Even though the themes change by the year, these ideas are universal when it comes being prepared. Take a look how you can apply each of these principles to your life.
Make and Practice Your Plan
In 2015, more than 1.3 million fires caught in America, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. And in 2017, Hurricane Irma cost $32 billion in losses. That same year, The Insurance Information Institute noted that hailstorms in the month of May resulted in losses totaling $2.5 million.
What do these catastrophes have to do with making and practicing a plan? The sheer number of disasters that happen each year shows that the unthinkable is real, and can happen. While no one wants to lose their property or take a financial blow, you need to have a plan ahead of time.
Your emergency plan should take into account the different types of disasters that can strike, the number and ages of people in your household, animals, and anyone who has special needs. Create a realistic evacuation route, set a family meeting place, and assign roles as needed (such as if you need someone to help a younger family member or pet). Practice the plan often, making sure that every person knows the escape route, meeting place, and their role.
Learn Life-Saving Skills
Life-saving skills include anything that could literally save a life. These range from installing and testing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to knowing how to turn off the gas and electric in your home. The ability to understand and learn life-saving skills varies by age.
Younger children can learn what a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm sounds like and what to do in the event that they hear it. A teen, young adult or adult can learn how to turn off some of the utilities, administer first aid, or administer CPR.
Life-saving skills can also include what not to do, such as not touching anything that runs on electricity or electrical outlets during a flood.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
You have homeowners or renters insurance for a reason. The premiums that you pay help to offset the costs in the event that a fire, flood, or other disaster seriously damages your home. Ideally, you would carefully review every clause in your insurance policy when you sign up for it. Make sure that you have all the coverages that you might possibly need.
Some policies don't cover floods, earthquakes, or other natural disasters (or only partially cover them). You don't want to get stuck paying for 100 percent of the water restoration fee following a flood. If you're not sure what your policy covers (and what you'll have to pay for), discuss your coverage in detail with your agent. Keep a copy of your insurance policy somewhere convenient, just in case you need to refer back to it.
Save for an Emergency
While some homeowners/renters insurance policies may cover a significant percentage of expenses following a fire, flood, or another type of damage, chances are you'll need to pay some of the restoration fees yourself.
In the event of serious home damage, you'll need to hire a restoration contractor. If your insurance doesn't cover the full costs, having an emergency fund can save your financial future or prevent you from having to use credit cards to pay for repairs and restoration.
Choosing a restoration contractor is part of having a safe, secure emergency preparedness plan. Do you have a number to call in the event of an emergency? If not, contact ANR Restoration Inc. for more information.