Before it hits

Protect Yourself and Your Family
· Remember that a hurricane watch means that conditions are favorable for a hurricane. A hurricane warning means that a hurricane will probably strike your area within the next 24 hours. When a hurricane watch is issued, plan your escape route in case you need to evacuate.

· Stock up on drinking water, canned goods, non-perishable foods and a can opener. If you need medicine of any kind, make sure you have an adequate supply.

· Make sure your portable radio is working. This may be your only link with the outside world and will keep you advised of the storm's path. Stock up on extra batteries.

· Maintain a supply of flashlights, candles or kerosene lamps. Store matches in waterproof containers and have adequate lantern fuel.

Protecting Your Property
· Take pictures and make an inventory of your personal possessions. Store the information off the premises, i.e. at the office, in a safe deposit box.

· Review your insurance coverage to make sure it is adequate. Hurricane damage is covered under standard homeowners policy, but it is very important to insure your home and belongings to their full replacement cost. Flooding is generally not covered under standard homeowners policies, so ask your agent about flood insurance.

· If you rent a house or apartment, talk to your broker about purchasing a renters insurance policy if you don't already have one.

· Board up windows, protect them with storm shutters or place tape from one corner diagonally to another.

· Secure all outdoor objects that could be blown around by storm winds.

· Move your boat to a safer place, or at least strengthen the mooring lines.

· Make an inventory of your possessions and store it off the premises. If your stuff is damaged, this list will help facilitate the claim filing process.

After it hits

Care for Yourself and Your Family
· Check people around you for injuries. Begin first aid or seek help if necessary.

· When you go outside, watch out for downed power lines.

· Beware of fire hazards such as broken gas lines and flooded electrical circuits.

Protecting Your Property
· Make temporary repairs. Keep all receipts for work done on your property. Most insurance companies cover reasonable expenses.

· Notify your insurance broker or company representative as soon as possible. If you have vacated the premises, make sure your representative knows where to contact you.

· Take pictures of damaged property and keep notes. Use pictures and inventory lists to help your insurance broker and adjuster assess the damages.

· Don't be rushed into signing repair contracts. Deal with reputable contractors. If you're unsure about a contractor's credentials, contact your claims adjuster or Chamber of Commerce for referrals. Make sure the contractor you hire is experienced in repair work - not just new construction. Be sure of payment terms and consult your broker or adjuster before you sign any contracts.