“Hurricanes of this magnitude are extremely dangerous and not to be taken lightly,” says Mercury Insurance Chief Claims Officer Randy Petro. “Water surges and strong winds often precede the eye of the storm, so it’s extremely important to be prepared and comply with evacuation notices. We’ve mobilized our claims teams and are ready to respond quickly to our customers’ requests for help. Whether it’s providing living expenses while they’re out of their homes due to a covered loss or facilitating claims, we’re committed to providing Mercury policyholders with the assistance they need.”
Mercury specializes in personal auto and homeowners insurance, and encourages customers to review insurance policies each year with their local agents. The company’s claims adjusters will assess damage to policyholders’ property due to rain and wind. Homeowners seeking coverage from flood and debris flows should review the National Flood Insurance Program at www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/about/nfip_overview.jsp.
“Homeowners insurance doesn’t usually cover weather-related flooding, but flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program. If you live in a high-risk area, consider purchasing a policy,” adds Petro. “If your vehicle is damaged in a hurricane, it may be covered by your auto insurance policy if you carry comprehensive coverage, but it’s best to make sure. Your local Mercury Insurance agent is able to help verify what is and is not covered in the event you’re affected by a hurricane.”
Mercury is urging Georgians to prepare for heavy rain, wind and flooding. The company is offering evacuation tips that will help prepare families for the coming hurricane. Disaster preparedness is essential to preventing injuries and property damage from violent and deadly storms.
1. Arrange your evacuation ahead of time. Plan where you will go in the event of an evacuation and establish a meeting place if your family isn’t together when the evacuation is called for. Familiarize yourself with multiple options to get out of the city in case of flooding, excessive traffic or your chosen route is blocked by fallen debris. Remember to include family pets in your plans.
2. Plan what to take. Prepare an Evacuation Kit that includes essentials, such as medicines and comfort items like children’s toys or books. Your Evacuation Kit should include a map and a GPS in case street signs are blown down or the weather interferes with satellite signals, as well as a list of phone numbers and addresses of friends, family and accommodations outside of the city. Your Evacuation Kit should also include:Bottled water Clothing and bedding (sleeping bags and pillows) Flashlight, battery-powered radio and extra batteries Special items for infants, children, elderly or disabled family members Computer hard drive or laptop Smartphone chargers Photographs Pet food, water and other items for pets (litter boxes, leashes, vaccination records, current photo of your pet)
Properly identify your pet with identification tags or microchips.Make sure your vehicle’s fuel tank is full and park it facing out.
3. Gather important documents. Organize important documents in two groups: essential and basic. Original copies of essential documents should be stored in a safe deposit box, which will preserve them during a disaster. Moreover, a safe deposit box will keep essential documents out of circulation and help prevent identity theft. Basic documents should be added to your Evacuation Kit, which should be brought with you.
Essential documents (store these in a safe deposit box)Birth and marriage certificates Passports Social Security cards Wills, living trusts and grant deeds Mortgage papers Stocks, bonds and other negotiable certificates Credit card numbers
Basic documents (add these to your Evacuation Kit)Checklist of what’s in your Evacuation Kit, which should be stored in a container that is waterproof and fireproof Driver’s license or other personal identification Insurance policies Employment information and copies of pay stubs for the past two months Bank, savings and retirement account numbers Mortgage papers (copy) Recent tax returns Home inventory (copy with photos of expensive items) List of important phone numbers and addresses
4. Create a home inventory. Establish a complete home inventory of your personal property. Take video of your home to catalog all property. Well-documented home inventories may serve to expedite the claims process, as well as substantiate losses for income tax purposes.
5. Reinforce your home. Close shutters or use plywood to board up windows and doors. Secure outdoor furniture, potted plants and other items that could become projectiles during the storm.
6. Be aware of flood zones in your area when leaving. Hurricanes can cause high winds, flying debris and flash flooding. Get out of town and go to higher ground. Leave as soon as possible.
Here are a few things you can do to prepare for a hurricane.
Additional hurricane preparedness resources:NOAA National Weather Service: www.weather.gov/safety.php American Red Cross: www.redcross.org/getprepared Federal Emergency Management Agency: www.ready.gov
ABOUT MERCURY INSURANCEMercury Insurance (MCY) is a multiple-line insurance organization predominantly offering personal automobile, homeowners and commercial insurance through a network of independent agents in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. Since 1962, Mercury has specialized in offering quality insurance at affordable prices. For more information visit www.mercuryinsurance.com or Facebook and follow the company on Twitter.
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