The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1, and will continue until the end of November. Many Jamaican homeowners are able to recall the devastation wreaked upon the island by a direct hit from hurricane Gilbert in 1988. More recently, serious damage was caused by hurricanes Ivan in 2004, Dean in 2007 and Sandy in 2012, none of which hit Jamaica directly.
You do not have to experience a hurricane first-hand to learn how to be prepared for one. Here are three simple, practical steps that you can take in order to protect yourself, your home, and your family in the event of a hurricane, and make it easier to receive your claims payment so that you can recover quickly:
1. Protect your home
Inspect your home before the beginning of the hurricane season. Do all doors and windows close tightly? Are any made of glass and will need battening down, to protect them from flying objects? If you need materials for battening down, invest in getting them cut to size before a hurricane threatens and store them. Is any part of the roof leaking? Get it fixed. Are they tree limbs which might fall onto the roof? Have them removed. Is there outside furniture or other objects which will blow around in a hurricane? Plan where they will be stored during the storm.
2. Protect your family
Remember that after a hurricane there can be long periods without power. Do you have adequate water storage? If not, consider buying containers or drums. Are you able to cook if the power is out for long periods? Make sure you have working batteries and enough candles. Check that flashlights and other kinds of lights are working. Make sure you have a battery operated radio, so you can listen to weather bulletins. Store old cloths and towels to sop up water. Organize a basic first aid kit to deal with minor injuries. Once a storm threatens, buy supplies of food that do not need refrigeration. And don’t wait until the last minute, when everyone else will be doing the same thing!
3. Take a home inventory
If you do have to make an insurance claim, it will really help if you have done a recent home inventory with pictures. Take stock of your belongings annually (June is the perfect month for this) and be sure to document what you have. You can send a copy of your inventory to your insurance company before a storm threatens and also store your records in a safe, water-proof place.
You can visit www.genac.com to talk to a representative more about your policy coverage in the event of a hurricane, or get a quick quote.