Hurricane Season 2012
With two names storm before June 1st, hurrican season is essentially here. To help prepare area residents, the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and emergency Management (HCOHSEM) has produced a 30 second public service announcement (PSA).
The Regional Join Information Center (JIC) is your best source for timely and accurate information when emergency conditions exist in greater Harris County area. The JIC is a collaboration between regional emergency management partner organizations designed to keep you informed before, during and after emergencies.
Insurance Protection Should Be Part of Hurricane Preparation
AUSTIN – With the official start of hurricane season on June 1, the Texas Department of Insurance encourages you to take some time to refamiliarize yourself with your insurance policies and to address any questions with your agent or company.
Get Prepared: Review and Update Your Insurance
To begin a review, start with your home inventory. Creating an inventory and storing it in a safe location away from home is one of the most basic – and effective – disaster preparedness steps you can take to help protect yourself and your financial future. A home inventory can save you time and headaches when filing a claim following a disaster.
You can download and print a home inventory checklist from the TDI website: http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/pubs/consumer/cb086.pdf
It is important to review your inventory each year. Remember to note the make, model, serial number, purchase price and date of purchase of any new items and keep copies of receipts for major purchases with your inventory.
Also, make sure you know whether your policy includes coverage for replacement cost or actual cash value in case of a loss. Actual cash value (ACV) is the amount it would take to repair damage to your home or to replace its contents after allowing for depreciation. Replacement cost is the amount it would take to rebuild or replace your home and its contents with similar quality materials or goods, without deducting for depreciation.
Store copies of your insurance policies with your inventory in a safe location away from your home, so that these records can be easily retrieved in the event of a loss. Before you store the insurance policies, review them to verify that they meet your needs. Make sure you know your policy limits, deductibles, exclusions and policyholder claims notification requirements, before disaster strikes.
Keep a list of contact details for your insurance agent and/or company with your policies. Include office phone numbers, mailing addresses, website addresses and all of your policy numbers for quick reference. Email this information to yourself in case you’re separated from your hard copy list.
Make sure you have windstorm insurance. If your property is located in one of Texas’ 14 coastal counties, or parts of southeastern Harris County, your homeowners policy may not provide windstorm coverage. You may be able to obtain insurance coverage for windstorm or hail damage from a special insurance pool called the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). It’s important to note that you cannot buy or change TWIA coverage once a hurricane is in or near the Gulf of Mexico. If you currently have TWIA coverage, review your policy carefully and know your policy limits. Compare your TWIA and homeowners policies and determine whether you are insured to an appropriate replacement value. For more information about windstorm coverage and inspection requirements, call your insurance agent or TWIA at (512) 899-4900, or visit TWIA’s website at www.twia.org.
Consider flood insurance. Most homeowners and commercial property policies specifically exclude coverage for damage from flooding. To protect yourself from losses caused by rising water, you’ll need a separate flood insurance policy, typically from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). NFIP is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Flood insurance policies usually have a 30-day waiting period after the purchase date before coverage takes effect on currently owned property, so don’t wait until a flooding threat is imminent. To obtain flood insurance contact your insurance agent or NFIP at 1-888-FLOOD 29 (356-6329) or visit www.floodsmart.gov. Note: for certain TWIA policyholders, flood coverage is required effective 9/1/2009; for more information about this requirement, contact your insurance agent or TWIA.
Make a safety plan. If a hurricane threatens your area, you may have to make a decision whether to stay in your home or evacuate. Whenever local authorities recommend evacuation, you should leave. The advice of authorities is based on knowledge of the strength of the storm and its potential for destruction.
Protect your property. When a hurricane watch is issued for your area, taking a few measures in advance may help prevent or minimize damage to your home or property.
For more information: If you have questions about insurance, call TDI’s toll-free Consumer Help Line: 1-800-252-3439 or visit the TDI website: www.tdi.state.tx.us.
Safe Kids USA - Summer Safety
You think that it could never happen to your family, but each year more than 800 children drown. These incidents are not only preventable but predictable.
Here are the five truths about children who drown and what you can do to help keep your children safe around water.
Summer and Bikes Can Be Deadly
Did you know that bikes are associated with more childhood injuries than any other consumer product except automobiles?
Sadly, child bicycling deaths increase 45% above the month average in the summer. With 27.7 million children riding bikes, we know there are too many of those kids riding without a helmet.
Bike helmets: Necessity, Not an Accessory
Watch this video to learn how to do the "eyes, ears, mouth test" to make sure your child's bike helmet fit correctly.