TRENTON – As hurricane season arrives, the Department of Banking and Insurance is urging all New Jersey residents, particularly those who live on barrier islands, along coastal waterways or in areas previously flooded, to be prepared. Forecasters predict this hurricane season which began June 1 and runs through November 30, could produce four major hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.
Homeowners should secure copies of their insurance policies, bank and personal identification documents and keep them readily available in a safe location. Homeowners should also make certain that they have contact information for their insurers or agents and be prepared to bring these key financial papers with them on their planned evacuation route. Each household member should regularly participate in home evacuation procedures.
“The time to plan for an emergency is now,” said Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Steven M. Goldman. “Governor Corzine and his administration has made disaster preparation a major priority as it has participated in multi-agency, multi-government Table-Top Exercises and continues to work with public and private partners, as well as consumers, in being as ready as possible when an emergency such as a major hurricane strikes our state.”
It is prudent to protect property well before a hurricane appears on the satellite images. Homeowners living in coastal zones may also wish to contact their agent or insurer and ask if they have a "loss mitigation plan." A loss mitigation plan is a way to protect your house. It is available to homeowners insurance policyholders in certain coastal areas.
It is also vital for homeowners to remember that standard homeowner policies do not cover property damage caused by flooding. The National Flood Insurance Plan handles flood insurance coverage. Ask your agent or insurance carrier for more information on flood insurance coverage. It may be too late to secure coverage when a storm is on the way. To secure coverage now, call your local insurance agent.
If anyone should have difficulty with a claim resulting from a hurricane this season and would like to speak with a Department representative, they can call the Department's Consumer Inquiry and Case Preparation Unit (CICPU) at 1-800-446-7467.
Policyholders with claims who choose to hire a public adjuster rather than using their insurer's adjuster should check with the Department to make sure the person is properly licensed.