RICHMOND — September 1 marks the midpoint of the Atlantic
hurricane season. With three months to go, the Virginia State Corporation Commission’s
(SCC) Bureau of Insurance reminds Virginians to act now to protect their property
from loss. There have been six named storms so far during the 2013 Atlantic hurricane
season, which began June 1 and runs through November 30.
The Bureau encourages Virginians to plan ahead and know what to do before a hurricane
or other disaster strikes your home or business property. Review your insurance
policy carefully to make sure you have enough coverage in the event of a disaster.
Know what your policy does and does not cover. Contact your insurance agent or company
or the Bureau of Insurance if you have any questions.
“Protect yourself physically and financially. Take steps now to insure you have
the coverage you need if disaster strikes,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner
Jacqueline K. Cunningham.
Ask your insurance company or agent how you can minimize property damage and, if
such damage occurs, how to expedite the processing of claims with your insurance
Prepare a complete inventory of your personal property ahead of time including serial
numbers, photographs and videotapes. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners’
free smartphone app – myHOME Scr.APP.book – makes creating a home inventory easier
than ever. Download the app from iTunes or Google Play. Keep your home inventory
and your insurance policies in a safe place, and take them with you if you evacuate.
If your property is damaged by a hurricane, call your insurance agent or company
as soon as possible. Make any necessary emergency repairs and take reasonable steps
to prevent further damage to your property. Record all damage to your property and
include photographs, notes, and repair related receipts.
If you must evacuate, know the name of your insurance companies and take your homeowners,
auto and other insurance policies with you. They will contain your policy number
and the phone number of your insurance company in the event you have questions or
need to file a claim.
The Bureau also encourages policyholders to consider the following:
- Does your homeowners policy contain a special deductible for wind or hurricane losses?
Some companies have wind or hurricane deductibles. These deductibles are applied
separately from any other deductible on a homeowners policy and may be written as
a flat amount, such as $1,000, or applied to a loss as a percentage of the insurance
coverage on the dwelling.
- Is your home covered in the event of a flood, surface water, or storm surge? Homeowners
insurance policies issued in Virginia generally do not provide coverage for damage
to your home and belongings due to flood, surface water, or storm surge. However,
flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
For more information on this program, contact your insurance agent or the NFIP at
1-888-225-5356 or visit www.floodsmart.gov
- Does your homeowners policy provide any coverage for such things as sewer backup?
Most homeowners policies do not provide coverage for sewer backup, but policyholders
may purchase additional coverage for this.
- Are automobiles and other vehicles covered in the event of a hurricane or other
windstorm? If you have comprehensive coverage – also known as other than collision
coverage – for your vehicle under your automobile policy, you will be covered for
flood and wind damage.
The Bureau cautions that once a hurricane develops in the Atlantic, it will be difficult
to find an insurance company willing to write related coverage until the storm threat
The Bureau of Insurance has specially trained staff who can assist consumers with
their insurance-related questions and concerns. For more information, contact the
Bureau of Insurance Property and Casualty Division toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or
in Richmond at (804) 371-9185. Consumers who are hearing or speech impaired may
call through the SCC’s Telecommunications Device for the Deaf and hard of hearing
(TDD) at (804) 371-9206.
The SCC is located in the Tyler Building at 1300 East Main Street in downtown Richmond.
Normal business hours are from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. Correspondence may be mailed
to the Bureau of Insurance at P. O. Box 1157, Richmond, VA 23218.
The Bureau of Insurance offers free consumer guides for homeowners and commercial
property owners with information about what to do when a disaster strikes. These
and many other consumer insurance guides are available on the Bureau’s website at
For additional emergency preparedness information relating to hurricanes and other
types of disasters, visit
www.ready.virginia.gov. This statewide
public education effort is designed to prepare Virginians for all kinds of hazards.