While hurricane season can typically last from June to November depending on your geographical location, hurricanes can occur at anytime during the season. Gallagher will help you understand the risks and help you prepare your home and property for storms and hurricanes. Your Gallagher advisor can help ensure you’re prepared.

Our guide below outlines the steps and best practices to safeguard your home and property before, during and after a hurricane.


Before Hurricane Season Begins: Review your Policies and Coverages

The time to start talking with your Gallagher representative is before hurricane season begins. Hurricane season can vary and can run from May/June-November. It’s critical to secure the appropriate coverage and understand what is covered under your current property policy.

Did You Know…

The average waiting period before flood coverage takes effect is 30 days through NFIP? This should be part of your pre-planning considerations.

Create a Hurricane Emergency Plan and Kit

Before hurricane season starts, we recommend you create a personal emergency plan and kit to ensure you are prepared should you need to prepare and evacuate for a hurricane. We recommend the following as essential emergency elements to create and review on an annual basis:

  1. Create an Emergency Kit. Maintain an emergency supply kit that will sustain you and your family for a 72-hour period. The American Red Cross has guidelines on how to build a survival kit.
  2. Secure important documents. Keep all important documents, such as legal papers, birth certificates, marriage license, financial papers and insurance policy information in a safety deposit box or fireproof and waterproof box on an upper floor inside your home.
  3. Develop an Emergency Contact List. Develop a contact list and evacuation location for all family members. Include contact procedures post event.
  4. Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  5. Develop an evacuation plan. Become familiar with your evacuation zone, the evacuation route, and shelter locations. Plan with your family.
  6. Protect your property. Review your hurricane policies; keep drains and gutter free of debris. Consider hurricane shutters.
  7. Keep your car in good working condition. Stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.
  8. Test and refuel backup generators. If you've installed a gas-powered generator as a backup power supply in your home, regularly test it to ensure that it is operational at the time you need it.
  9. Have additional mobile chargers. Make sure to have additional mobile chargers to keep your mobile phone charged should the power go out.

What to do when a Hurricane Warning or Watch is Issued

By having an emergency kit and plan in place, you’ll be better prepared when a hurricane watch or hurricane warning is near. Understanding the difference between a hurricane watch and hurricane warning will be helpful to know how you may respond.

Hurricane Watch

A hurricane watch is issued by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) finds hurricane conditions may become a threat within 48 hours. Be sure you have your hurricane resources in hand and your emergency plan ready to act in case a warning is issued. When a hurricane watch is issued, we recommend:

  • Turn on your TV or radio in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
  • Review your emergency contact list with your family and discuss how to communicate with family members if you lose power. Have additional mobile batteries charged should you lose power. For example, you can call, text, email or use social media. Remember that during disasters, sending text messages is usually reliable and faster than making phone calls because phone lines are often overloaded.
  • Review your evacuation zone, evacuation route and shelter locations with your family.
  • Fill your vehicle’s gas tank(s), propane tank(s) and make sure your emergency supplies are stocked and you have change of clothes prepared.

Hurricane Warning

When hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) will issue a hurricane warning. In addition to the actions with a hurricane watch, complete your storm preparations and evacuate to a safe place if directed to do so by authorities. Hurricane preparations for your home and evacuation should include:
  • Secure doors and windows. If your home is equipped with shutters or panels, now is the time to put them to use. If you don't have shutters, close and lock windows and doors to minimize the chance of them blowing open, or of water being blown through the gaps.
  • Bring in or secure outside furniture and accessories. Secure lawn or patio furniture, garbage cans, statuary, mobile grills and any free standing lightweight objects — these can become projectiles in a windstorm.
  • Reinforce garage doors. If you do not have a storm bar or other garage door reinforcement, you may want to back up your car against the inside of your garage door to help prevent it from "twisting" due to high winds.
  • Test and refuel backup generators. When a storm approaches, make sure that plenty of fuel is available.
  • Move personal possessions. Move furniture and household fixtures to the center of your home, away from exterior door and window openings. If possible, elevate these items and cover them with plastic.
  • Lift rugs and curtains. With rain and strong winds, water can be driven through windows and doors. Opening curtains (away from the window) and lifting long curtains and expensive rugs from the floor will reduce the likelihood of damage.
  • Unplug household appliances. Refrigerators, washer/dryers, personal computers, etc. should be unplugged and stored in cabinets or interior closets.
  • Fill your bathtub with water. The extra water source may be needed.

Sheltering in Place During a Hurricane

If sheltering during high winds, go to a FEMA safe room, ICC 500 storm shelter, or a small, interior, windowless room or hallway on the lowest floor that is not subject to flooding. Only use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery outdoors and away from windows. Listen for current emergency information and instructions from your local and regional authorities. They will advise when it is safe to assess property damage. There can be many hazards after a storm from debris in water to electrical equipment. Follow the guidance of your local authorities.

Filing an Insurance Claim after a Hurricane

You may have suffered damage as a result of the hurricane. We recommend you secure your location(s) to prevent further loss and begin to sort damaged items from undamaged items. File a claim as soon as you are able and photograph or video property damage. Keep and maintain receipts from supplies being purchased for repairs to provide to your claims handler. Your claim handler will begin the claim resolution process. If you need assistance reporting your claim, please contact your Gallagher representative.

Claims contacts for home & Property

Starting a Homeowners Insurance Claim after a Hurricane

In order for a claim to be initiated and investigation to begin, the claims handler must have as much detail as possible. The following is recommended:

  • Photographs and/or video of the damage are extremely helpful.
  • A preliminary list of damages.
  • Secure your location(s) to prevent further loss and begin to sort damaged items from the undamaged items.

Claims Insurance Process: What to Expect

Throughout the claim investigation process, you may have various coverage-related questions. Please reach out to your Gallagher representative with specific policy and claim questions. During this high volume claim reporting period, you should anticipate the following:

  • Initial contact may take some time. Some insurers may use adjusters under contract, so the adjuster’s contact information may appear different than expected.
  • Limited access to affected areas.
  • Competition for labor and materials will be high, which may impact the timeframe and costs associated with repair and remediation.
  • Working closely with your claims adjuster. If you have questions regarding the resolution process, Gallagher is here to assist and ensure you are in control of the claim progress. 

Your insurance company website will contain important information about how to handle claims and manage losses. We have listed many insurance companies in the event you do not have the contact information readily available.

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