In 2022, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted that 14 to 21 named storms would develop over the Atlantic Ocean during the hurricane season, which runs from June through November. The agency said there could be six to 10 hurricanes including three to six major hurricanes. Colorado State University experts forecast 20 named storms this year with 10 becoming hurricanes, including five major hurricanes. The good news is that we have time to prepare.
Here are some tips to protect your home and belongings:
- Consider buying flood insurance. Flood damage isn’t covered by your home insurance. Don’t wait too long: It typically takes 30 days for flood policies to take effect.
- Write a family disaster plan. Start on the TexasReady.gov website
- Decide where and how far you’ll go if you evacuate.
- Build a “go-kit” with food, medicine, clothes, pet food, and other vital supplies.
- Make a room-by-room home inventory. This could help later if you file a claim with your insurance company.
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- Ask students to search for flood maps at FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center. Is their area prone to hurricanes and floods?
- Ask students to use FEMA’s Historical Flood Risk and Cost data to help evaluate the flood risk in their area.
- Ask students to talk to their home insurance agent about their need for a flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program. (If their agent does not sell flood insurance, call 1-800-427-4661.)
- Ask students if their families are prepared for the hurricane season? What preparation have they made, if any?
- Is flood insurance worth its cost? Who must purchase flood insurance?
- Why isn’t flood damage covered by a standard home insurance policy?
- Why are flood maps difficult to keep up to date?
- What factors determine the cost of a flood insurance policy?
If your home was damaged by the severe weather, contact your insurance company or agent to file a claim as soon as possible. These tips will help you make the process go smoother:
- Keep a list of everyone you talk to at your insurance company.
Be ready to answer questions about the damage.
- Make a list of damaged property.
Take pictures or videos. Don’t throw anything away until your insurance company tells you to do so.
- Take steps to protect your home from further damage.
Cover broken windows and holes to keep rain out and prevent vandalism or theft.
- Try to be there when the insurance company comes to inspect the damage.
If you can’t stay in your home, leave a note with information on where you can be reached.
- Ask your agent about additional living expenses.
If you’re forced out of your home to make repairs, your insurance policy may pay for some of those expenses.
- Avoid fraud (with the following recommendations):
- Get written estimates.
- Get more than one bid
- Beware of contractors who solicit door to door.
- Check references and phone numbers.
- Don’t pay up front.
- Avoid contractors who offer to waive your deductible or promise a rebate for it.
- Never sign a contract with blank spaces.
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- What actions should you take to protect your property before a severe storm and floods?
- Make a checklist of actions that you should take after the storm? Share the list with other students.
- Under what circumstances is it better not to file a claim?
- If you file a claim and your insurer rejects it, what are your options? Who should you turn to for assistance?
While insurance may be the last thing on your mind during the holidays, the start of a new year is the perfect time to review your insurance coverage and update your home inventory list. When you reflect on the last 12 months, especially with the pandemic, you might realize that some of those changes could greatly affect your home insurance needs. So, try starting a new tradition: update your home inventory list. Here are four good reasons to add an annual insurance review and home inventory update to your list of holiday traditions.
- Your new gifts may not be covered.
Your homeowners insurance will cover most of your big-ticket gifts like a big screen TV, new electronics and expensive jewelry, but only up to your policy limits. That’s why it’s important to maintain a current record of all your belongings. Update your home inventory this holiday season so your coverage limits meet your insurance needs.
- A lot can change in a year.
Think about the new “normal” we’re living in with COVID-19. With many people spending more time in their homes, it is not surprising that home improvement projects have increased in popularity. According to a recent porch.com survey, 76% of homeowners have completed at least one home improvement project since the start of the pandemic. Take photos or a video of your remodeled kitchen or bathroom, gather receipts and add them to your inventory list. When you review coverage at the start of the year, you can ensure your new assets are safeguarded.
- It will make filing an insurance claim easier.
The information you put into the home inventory list can make an insurance claim settlement faster and easier. This is especially crucial for high-value items. Don’t forget to document your attic, basement, closets and other storage areas. Can you imagine trying to compile all this information after a disaster? Without a record of your belongings, remembering everything you own or what you’ve lost can be challenging.
- It’s free and easy.
With today’s technology, it’s never been easier to keep a detailed catalog of your possessions. Keep your home inventory list in a safe place outside your home or cloud-based storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive. Also, your insurance agent will be happy to review your insurance coverage with you at no cost.
Creating a home inventory doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as standing in the middle of each room and taking a 360-degree video. Tackle this project with your children and show them family keepsakes and their history.
For more insurance information, click here.
- Ask students if they rent or own home. Do they have renters or homeowner’s insurance? Have they prepared a list of their personal belongings? If not, why?
- If students don’t have a household inventory, encourage them to prepare a list of their belongings.
- Why is it important to annually review your home insurance needs?
- Where should you keep your home inventory list?
Without warning, a flood, fire or other disaster could leave you with a severely damaged home, destroyed belongings and barriers to managing your finances. Many people think of disaster preparedness as having a stockpile of water, canned food, and flashlights, but people also need access to cash and financial services. That’s why it is important to include financial preparedness in your disaster plans. Here is the latest summary of important preparations.
You should have enough insurance to cover the cost to replace or repair your home, car and other valuable property, as well as temporary housing if you are displaced from your home. Those who do not own a home should have renters insurance. Also, make sure that you have the right coverage for the types of disasters likely to occur in your area. For example, homeowner’s insurance does not typically cover events such as flooding or earthquakes, so you may want to consider whether you need additional coverage.
- Periodically review your insurance coverage
- Build and maintain an emergency savings fund
- Sign up for direct deposit of your paycheck or government benefits
- Gather and organize important documents
For more information, click here.
- Ask students to prepare a household inventory with a description and the value of belongings.
- Help students understand that renter’s insurance is important for the protection it provides for their personal property.
- How can you protect yourself from flood, fire or other natural disasters?
- Should you consider purchasing flood-related insurance if you don’t live in a coastal area? Why or why not?
- Why is it important to gather and organize important documents before a disaster strikes?
Saving money can be automatic with some simple actions that would reduce your monthly spending. Some actions, which can include lowering your monthly cash outflows by as much as $400, include:
- Using a programmable thermostat which can be used to automatically raise and lower the temperature in your home, resulting in energy savings.
- Increasing insurance deductibles for your home and auto insurance which will likely result in an annual savings of several hundred dollars.
- Practicing less aggressive driving; using a constant speed can save money on fuel costs.
- Seeking out ways to reduce your communication bills, such as using basic cable along with streaming video on your computer. Also, using a free texting app on your phone.
- Using a refillable water bottle can save hundreds of dollars by not buying bottled water.
To ensure that you actually save this money, each month, have funds automatically moved into a savings account or investment program.
For additional information on saving, go to:
- Have students conduct online research to determine various actions to reduce spending and increase savings.
- Have students interview several people to determine various actions that might be considered for reducing spending.
- What actions have you taken to reduce spending and increase savings?
- Explain short-term and long-term benefits of reduced spending.
In September 2014, millions of Americans received a 152-page booklet from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, called Medicare & You 2015. It doesn’t have much of a plot, but it might be the most important reading for seniors or their adult children. Here is what’s important in 2015:
- Stay healthy with Medicare-covered preventive services. Medicare pays for many services that can prevent or detect health problems early when they are easier to treat. Ask your health care provider what services you need.
- Keep track of your personal health information. Access your personal health information using Medicare’s Blue Button. This information can help you make more informed decisions about your care and can give your healthcare providers a more complete view of your health history.
- Continue to get help in the prescription drug coverage gap. If you reach the coverage gap in your Medicare prescription drug coverage, you’ll quality for some savings on generic and brand-name drugs.
- Find out what you pay for Medicare (Part A and Part B). The 2015 Medicare premium and deductible amounts were not available at the time of printing. To get most up-to-date cost information, call 1-800-Medicare.
For additional information go to
- Ask students to choose a current issue of Money, Consumer Reports, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, and summarize an article that updates Medicare’s programs for 2015.
- Ask student where they can find other ways to get Medicare information and compare the quality of plans and health care providers.
- What factors should senior citizens consider in making the choice among various types of Medicare, medigap, or HMO health care insurance policies?
- What services are not covered by Medicare?
When buying home, health, auto or rental insurance, you should find out if your state insurance department offers any information about insurance companies and rates. Check several sources for the best rate and get quotes online. Consult an independent insurance agent who represents several insurers in your area to get a better deal.
Before purchasing insurance, be sure the insurance company is licensed and covered by the state’s guaranty fund. The fund pays claims if the company defaults. Your state insurance department can provide this information.
Research the complaint record of the company. Contact your state insurance department, or visit the website of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (www.naic.org), which maintains a database of complaints filed with state regulators. Finally check the financial stability of the insurance company.
For additional information and guidance visit the following websites:
http://www.ambest.com, http://www.standardandpoors.com, and http://www.moodys.com
- Why is it important to contact state insurance department before purchasing insurance?
- How can an independent insurance agent provide a better insurance rate?
- Why is an insurance company’s financial stability important?
You may want to use the information in this blog post and the websites to
* Have students visit the various websites in this blog and then prepare a short summary of their findings.
* explore a few advantages of purchasing insurance from an independent insurance agent?