Insurance agent says prepare in case you need repairs after Ida

Published 2:00 pm Sunday, August 29, 2021

Hurricanes are not just a threat to coastal communities. High winds, heavy rainfall, tornadoes and flooding can be felt hundreds of miles inland, potentially causing loss of life and catastrophic damage to property.

Some local insurance agent’s offices will be closed Monday, but agents will be available by phone.

A local insurance agent is reminding property owners not to wait until after the storm to be concerned about possible damages.

“Pre-photograph the key areas of  your home before the storm,” said Farm Bureau agent Sam Sones. “Take a panorama of the key rooms in the interior of your home for contents purposes. Also a few snapshots of the exterior of your home, particularly including your roof, will help with before and after in worse-case scenarios.”

Sones also said to take photos after the storm prior to making repairs.

“If you need to take measures after the storm to prevent further damage or make repairs, make sure that you have complete photos of the damaged area first.”

Failure to do so could affect an insurance company’s ability to coverage damages.

Review insurance coverage on both homes and vehicles, and have your insurance agent’s cell number or another way to get in touch with him or her, especially since offices may be closed so agents can be in the field.

“A great way to do this is by utilizing your company’s mobile app to contact your agent, file claims, etc.,” Sones said.

 

The Mississippi Department of Insurance suggests the following tips:

  • Tie down loose objects like lawn furniture and grills to prevent them from being blown away or floating away in flood water.
  • Move to higher ground if you’re in a flood plain.
  • Take photos before and after the storm hits.
  • Make sure you have family evacuation and communications plans and update your emergency supply kit.
  • An emergency supply kit or “go bag” should include:
    • Cash
    • Medications
    • A gallon of water for every family member and pet
    • A battery-powered radio
    • Important documents like social security cards, birth certificates, and insurance policies
  • Evacuations are more common than people realize. Make yourself familiar with your community’s evacuation zones, so you’ll know exactly where to go.
  • Know where to go for trusted sources of information during a hurricane event. Sign up for alerts from your local emergency management office so notifications, including evacuation orders, go directly to your phone and email.

If you have damage following a storm:

  • Have your insurance company’s name and policy number ready to speed up the claim process.
  • Keep all receipts for expenses for any damages to your home.
  • Be careful before you enter any damaged property and be careful of escaping natural gas, live electrical wires and collapses.
  • Take pictures of any damages before you repair both inside and outside. If possible, make temporary repairs to your property to prevent further losses.
  • Call the Mississippi Insurance Department with insurance-related questions at 601-359-2453.