By Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready
In Oklahoma, natural disasters are a tragic reality. Every year, disasters disrupt different parts of our state, leaving behind lasting effects on Oklahomans and property. After a disaster, many in our community need help and first responders may not be able to assist right away. That is why it’s important to Get Ready now. You and your family can take simple steps to Get Ready for emergencies and mitigate your risks. Here are some very easy but essential things you can do to Get Ready.
Document Your Property
One of the most important things you can do before a storm hits is to make a home inventory. Keep a detailed record of your valuable belongings to help you recover and file a claim more quickly. Take photos or videos to record your belongings and write down descriptions. Take photos or videos of the inside and outside of your home, including spaces like closets and cabinet interiors. Keep your inventory somewhere away from your home (i.e. safe deposit box, virtual cloud), where it can be accessed after a disaster.
Review Your Insurance
Disasters are a matter of when not if. Understand the risks you may face and talk to your agent to ensure that you have the insurance coverage you need for your property. For example, a standard homeowners policy does not cover floods, and you may need a separate wind and hail policy if you live in tornado-prone areas. It’s also important to prepare your property before the storm hits. Sometimes it is not the storm that directly causes the damage to your home but your possessions that are not secured in your yard. Cut down or trim trees that may be in danger of falling on your home. Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
Make a Plan
Lastly, having a plan in place and knowing how you will respond to the storm can make a significant impact. Be sure to have flashlights, food, water and a weather radio ready at all times. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find and practice that plan regularly. Sign up for your community’s alert and warning systems and make sure you understand what these alerts and warnings mean.
To help Oklahomans prepare for this storm season, we’re releasing the three-part column series—Mulready Says Get Ready: Before, During and After the Storm. This comprehensive series will provide you with detailed information on how best to prepare for disasters. In this series, I’ll explain general disaster preparedness tips for before, during and after disasters. Please follow #GetReadyOK and visit www.oid.ok.gov/getready for more information on how to Get Ready.
If you have questions about other insurance issues, please contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 1-800-522-0071 or visit our website at www.oid.ok.gov.