The month of May marks the beginning of hurricane season. If you live in hurricane-prone areas you should prepare your family and your property to minimize damage.

First, develop a family hurricane preparedness plan before an actual storm threatens your area.

  • Discuss the type of hazards that could affect your family.
  • Know your home's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind.
  • Determine escape routes from your home and places to meet.
  • Be sure to have a plan for your pets if you need to evacuate.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911.
  • Have an out-of-state friend as a family contact, so all your family members have a single point to contact.
  • Take precaution to reduce damage to your home and property. Strengthen the exterior of your home to prevent damage from wind and debris.

As you prepare for hurricane season, don't forget your insurance. Be sure your homeowners and flood coverage is up-to-date. Review your insurance coverage to make sure it is adequate, and familiarize yourself with any windstorm deductibles. Most hurricane damage is covered under a standard homeowner's policy, but it is very important to insure your home and belongings to their full replacement cost at current value. Flooding is generally not covered under standard homeowner's policies, so ask your agent about flood insurance.

If your home is damaged in a storm, be aware of personal and physical safety measures and comply with the orders of local emergency authorities. Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible. Take pictures of damaged property and be sure to keep notes. Do not be rushed into signing repair contracts. Be sure to check the contractor out with the Better Business Bureau (