Disaster Preparedness Month: Insurance
and preparation are keys to surviving
the next natural disaster
SEATTLE - September is National Preparedness Month and communities
across the nation are encouraging residents and businesses to
take action to protect their employees and families from disasters.
Whether it's an earthquake, wildfire, flood or windstorm, natural
disasters can devastate parts of the Pacific Northwest at any
time. Northwest residents need to be ready and NW Insurance Council
is prepared to help.
"We have wide variety of potential natural disasters in the Northwest,"
said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president. "Fortunately,
you can get ready now before it's too late. From insurance to
structural evaluations to evacuation plans, disaster kits and
home inventories, our disaster preparedness website, GetReadyNW.org,
can give you a starting point to get ready."
While natural disasters are hard to predict, developing a disaster
preparedness plan that includes insurance can increase your chances
of saving your family, property and business from a catastrophic
loss. Visiting FEMA's National
Preparedness Community and GetReadyNW.org
will help you get started.
is designed to provide families and businesses with tips on how
to prepare for Northwest-specific disasters such as earthquake,
flood, wildfire, windstorm, volcanic eruption and severe winter
The site also includes tips on understanding your insurance policies,
filing an insurance claim and claims phone numbers for NW Insurance
Council member companies. Consumers also can access key disaster
resources from state and national emergency-management agencies
from within the GetReadyNW.org
The NW Insurance Council offers the following tips to help you
plan to survive the next disaster:
- Develop an effective disaster preparedness plan for your
family. Visit GetReadyNW.org.
For businesses, set up an emergency response plan that your
employees are trained to carry out. For more information,
visit the Washington Military Department's Emergency Management
Division's program Safe@Work,
the Insurance for Business and Home Safety's disaster planning
for Business and GetReadyNW.org
- Review your insurance policies to be sure you have the right
coverage to meet your needs. Find out what your insurance
will cover. Most Homeowners
Insurance policies do not cover damage caused by flood,
earthquake, landslides or tsunamis.
- Flood Insurance
can be purchased through the National
Flood Insurance Program. You can purchase earthquake coverage
separately through your Homeowners insurance company or through
a specialty carrier, such as GeoVera.
- Develop a home inventory of your personal property. You
can access free, downloadable Home
Inventory software from the Insurance Information Institute.
A complete inventory of your possessions will help you and
your adjuster get through the claims process more quickly,
including insurance settlements and/or tax deductions for
losses. Don't trust your memory. List descriptions, take pictures
and include receipts when possible.
- Store your home inventory and insurance papers in waterproof
containers offsite in a safety deposit box or with a friend.
- Become familiar with your community's disaster preparedness
plans by visiting the community's official website or stopping
by city hall.
- Develop an emergency kit that includes at least a three-day
supply of drinking water and food you don't have to refrigerate
or cook. The kit should also contain first aid supplies, a
weather radio, batteries, clothing, blankets, medicine, copies
of your insurance policies and some basic tools. More disaster
planning resources are available at www.redcross.org.
- Refill your vehicle's gas tank whenever it gets down to
a half tank. Plan an escape route in the event you have to
evacuate your home. Check with city or county officials for
low points in the event of a flood or tsunami.
- Determine the location of the nearest official shelter.
The Red Cross can locate shelters near your home and explain
what you should take with you.
- Agree on a meeting place for your family in case local communications
networks are offline. Also determine a virtual meeting place
such as a voicemail box or online social networking site.
Designate out-of-state contacts and provide contact information
to each family member in case you can't communicate locally.
For more information visit GetReadyNW.org
or contact NW Insurance Council at 800-664-4942 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education
organization funded by member insurance companies serving Oregon,
Washington and Idaho.