Plan, prepare and protect

It is important to remember that before
and during hurricane season, preparation is the most important thing you
can do. Should a hurricane strike, it will be your planning and
preparation that help get you through the storm and its aftermath.

Begin
by speaking to your family about your disaster plans. Talking things
over with your partner and children will give everyone a clear picture
of what needs to be done. It may also bring up some new suggestions or
remind you of things that have changed since last year that you now need
to address, such as the addition of a pet to the family. Schedule a
trip to the hardware, grocery and drug store this weekend! Don’t wait
until a hurricane watch or warning is issued and your family is forced
to compete with the masses for supplies.

Another important step that should not be overlooked is checking your insurance coverage.

Evelyn
Tibbetts-Farrar, Island Heritage’s Personal Lines Underwriting manager,
advises you to, “Read over your policy carefully or call into your
provider for assistance and make sure you are adequately covered. Your
home is one of the most valuable assets you will ever own, so it’s
important to be sure you have enough coverage to be able to restore it
fully should a loss occur.”

Consider upgrades that you’ve made to
your home over the years and contents that you’ve added. If these costs
are not reflected in your current amount covered, you may be
underinsuring your home.

Underinsurance is a condition that is
found on most insurance policies. It occurs when a customer has not
insured the true replacement cost of an item. For instance, a house that
has a true replacement cost of $200,000 but is only insured for
$100,000 means that the house is 50 percent underinsured. In the event
of a covered loss of $50,000, the claim will be penalized by 50 percent.

Because of this, the customer would only receive $25,000 and would be out of pocket for the remainder of the replacement costs.

“The
best way to avoid being underinsured is to have your property regularly
surveyed by a professional and adjust your sum insured accordingly.
Keeping a comprehensive list of your contents and increasing your
contents sum insured when needed are also important because they can
also be exposed to underinsurance,” said Evelyn.

To further
invest in your protection and safety, plan ahead for the purchase of
items such as hurricane shutters, a generator or a chainsaw. These items
can be some of the most important things to have to protect your home
and should be considered an investment. Planning for them and working
them into your budget before hurricane season can ease the financial
strain of getting them when demand is high.

“Installing
protective measures may also have an added benefit as many insurance
companies, including Island Heritage, offer premium discounts for
properties fitted with professionally installed hurricane shutters
and/or hurricane-rated windows and doors,” remarked Evelyn.

If
your building is under construction, it should be covered under a
Contract Works policy, also known as Builder’s Risk insurance. This
covers the principal and other interested parties during the course of
construction. Much like Island Heritage’s home owner’s policy, it
provides cover for a variety of perils that may cause material damage,
including hurricanes.

Ricardo Bodington, Island Heritage’s
Commercial Lines Underwriting manager, deals daily with business owners,
including contractors and their varying insurance needs.

“Contract
works policies are issued up to a maximum of 18 months, but can be
taken out for as little as three months. Workers compensation and public
liability on-site can also be added to a contract works policy as an
added benefit,” Ricardo said.

Island Heritage also issues blanket
contract works policies. This provides contractors with the means to
take out a single policy to cover all of the jobs that his company works
on in a 12-month period. Once the construction is complete, Island
Heritage can seamlessly convert your Contract Works policy into a
Heritage Home or Business Policy.

“Of course, insurance is of
utmost importance to the business owner as well. One should make sure
their plan covers their buildings, plants and machinery, computer
equipment, stock and furniture, fixtures and fittings,” Ricardo says.

A
business owner should also consider adding Business Interruption
coverage to their plan to help offset the financial consequences a
material damage loss. “At a minimum, businesses should consider enough
coverage to cover business expenses during temporary closure of at least
six to 12 months,” says Ricardo.

He went on to advise that in
gearing up for hurricane season, business owners have an extra step to
take to protect their business. “In order to prepare for a disaster, a
business should first have a documented continuity plan in place.” He
asserts that the business owner’s preparedness should be a continuous
cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising,
evaluating, and taking corrective action. All of this will ensure
effective coordination before, during and after a disaster.
 
If
you have questions regarding insurance coverage for your home or
business, call Island Heritage or visit their Customer Care Centre at
the Strand.
 

 

 

 

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