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Cravens Warren

Serving the risk management and commercial insurance needs of business. Cravens Warren, founded in 1946, has been serving the insurance needs of... read more

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  • 10011 West Gulf Bank
    Houston, TX 77040
  • Phone (888) 296-1380
    Fax (713) 690-6020
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Hurricane Preparedness - Not Just Bottled Water and Extra Batteries

By Julie Hart, Commercial Marketing Manager | Apr 3, 2011

Every year as Hurricane Season approaches, the local news anchors tell viewers in detail how to be prepared should a hurricane come our way. These suggestions include having bottled water, non-perishable food, flash lights, essential medications, baby supplies and, of course, extra batteries.

Cravens Warren wants to give you some suggestions on how to prepare your Insurance program for hurricane season which runs from June 1st to November 30th. The following pointers are some ideas to consider but they do not encompass everything you should do. The best plan of action is for you to review your current insurance program with your agent to make sure you have the proper coverage with adequate limits.

PROPERTY INSURANCE:

  • Did you know that Property policies normally do not cover items such as fences, awnings, signs, covered parking, antennas, and satellite dishes? These items must be scheduled. You may have limited coverage for some of these things, but will it be enough? Check with your agent to see if these items are covered and if so, do you have an adequate limit?
  • Business Income and Extra Expense are extremely important coverages to include on your property policy, yet many insureds fail to do so. Of course there are limitations, but simply put - Business Income is coverage to cover lost profits and normal operating expenses after a covered loss. Extra Expense is coverage for additional expenses that occur after a covered loss. The goal for both coverages is to help make your business whole again. Your agent has tools to help you determine a proper limit. Please note for this coverage to respond, the covered peril must occur at your own premises. See if you can have it extended to include losses that occur due to off premises utilities such as power, water, and communications.
  • Consider adding coverage or increasing limits on coverage for “backup of sewers and drains” . The excessive rains during hurricanes and tropical storms can cause these types of losses.
  • Have you had any additions to your property that you have been meaning to tell your agent about but haven’t yet? Now is the time to get that additional coverage bound. Once a storm enters the Gulf of Mexico or is in striking distance, companies have a moratorium on binding coverage.
  • Does your policy include Demolition Coverage and/or Ordinance of Law coverage? If yes, is the limit adequate? See if your insurance company can increase your limits. Insureds often underestimate how much it would cost them if they had to totally demolish their building should a loss make it necessary to do so. Also, when you then have to rebuild - it may cost more than the building’s current value since the building code may have changed since the building was originally erected. (Examples are changes in electric, plumbing and wind codes)
  • Insure your property for Replacement Cost instead of Actual Cash Value.

WINDSTORM:

  • Stand alone windstorm coverage is available either through a surplus lines market or through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association Windstorm Pool. Coverage written through the windstorm pool has limited Business Income coverage. Getting coverage is a detailed process and takes time. Don’t wait until the last minute.
  • Remember to specifically schedule all miscellaneous items such fences, awnings, parking structures, antennas, satellite dishes, swimming pools, and other structures.
  • If you have a high windstorm deductible, you may be able to purchase coverage to buy it back down. Check with your agent.
  • Trim trees away from your home. Repair loose shingles on your roof. Make any necessary simple structural repairs now. Take date stamped pictures or video of your roof to show the condition of your roof before a storm hits.
  • Windstorm insurance does not cover flood or storm surge

FLOOD:

  • Don’t wait until the last minute to purchase flood coverage. Unless it’s for a closing, it takes thirty days to bind flood insurance after payment is received.
  • The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) limits how much coverage you can get on a flood policy but you can look into getting Excess Flood coverage if you need higher limits.
  • Flood policies do not include coverage for Business Income and Extra Expense. Cravens Warren does have a market who can write some limited Business Income and Extra Expense with Excess Flood quotes.

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER:

  • Write down your insurance company claims numbers so you can turn in a claim as soon as possible and speed up the claim process.
  • Consider taking photos or video of your contents to assist in claims handling and/or write down an inventory. Include serial numbers, purchase dates and cost of valuables. Be sure to put this some place safe or take with you if you evacuate.
  • If evacuating, decide in advance where you will go. Make sure all necessary parties know your plan of action. Secure your property before you leave.
  • Consider taking highly valued items with you or put them in a safe location.
  • Review your policies for deductibles, exclusions and coverage information.