flood insurance

Helpful insurance links, resources for storms

Currently a Category Five storm, Hurricane Irma could make landfall in Florida by Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center. From there, the storm could move north and east to affect parts of Georgia and South Carolina. Irma's impact on renters, homeowners, and business owners could be significant. As a resource, we have put together a short fact sheet on insurance FAQs and contact information for U.S. areas most immediately affected by Irma.

A brief overview of common insurance coverages

Flood insurance: Flood coverage is required in some flood-prone areas, and possibly essential for homeowners, renters and business owners, as homeowners, renters and businessowners coverage typically excludes flood damage.

The National Flood Insurance Program oversees most U.S. flood policies. This is typical coverage under flood insurance.

Homeowners / renters insurance: These policies will cover structural, fire and other various damage inflicted by storms. A rental policy covers damage and loss to a leaseholder's apartment, including valuables.

Businessowners insurance policy (BOP): Businesses guarding against a wide range of risk, including property damage from storms, typically hold this coverage. The coverage often contains business interruption insurance, a must if operations are halted because of weather or another cause.

Auto insurance: Comprehensive auto coverage, will protect you in case of storm damage to a car. Note that flood coverage excludes car damage.

In all cases, it is good to known what each of your policies covers and excludes, and your insurance agent can be your greatest guide in this regard.

Beginning the post-storm claims process

To begin, policyholders are advised to inventory their belongings before a storm strikes (though, of course, that can be easier said than done when time is of the essence).

In the case of a loss, consider taking these steps:

⇒ Take care of this first if you need emergency assistance.

⇒ If -- and only if -- it is safe to do so, you may want to take action to begin reducing the impact of the loss. For instance, if there is water on your floor, and you have access to shut off your water, this would be a logical step, but only if it safe to proceed.

⇒ Contact your insurance agent. However, in the case of a major weather event, it is possible your agent might not be immediately available.

Resources -- national

FEMA offers numerous online resources on the flood insurance claims process, including infographics in more than a dozen languages and an in-depth fact sheet on claims.

Here is a list of toll-free numbers for property & casualty insurance carriers from the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCIAA).

The PCIAA website has plenty of valuable information as well, including tips for before the storm.

Resources -- state

⇒ The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation offers information for state policyholders. Visit the organization's website, or contact the office via multiple phone numbers, including toll-free in-state at (877) 693-5236.

The Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner regulates Georgia's insurance industry. Telephone: 800-656-2298. The commission website offers search functions to find local insurance agents in Georgia, as well as other insurance information.

⇒ The South Carolina Department of Insurance has a host of information for policyholders, including a brochure on what to do before a storm. Telephone:  803-737-6160.

Plexus personal insurance notes: As summer wanes, weather-proofing becomes key

In our August personal insurance newsletter, we explore several topics of note for policyholders, including when it's time to add new drivers to parents' insurance policies.

After the toys of summer have gone

With summer winding down, seasonal items such as boats, personal watercraft, motorcycles, and classic cars may soon have to be stored. Some policies will include a "lay-up period" for seasonal vehicles in storage, leading to lower rates. For more information, contact Client Executive Deborah Dohn at 847.307.6177 or ddohn@plexusgroupe.com.

Time is right for weather-proofing

Have you cleaned your gutters recently? With the weather still warm and fall approaching, it might be time for a roof cleanout. Leaves and winter weather can lead to ice-clogged gutters, and melted snow and ice with no escape path can cause leakage and water damage inside your home. While insurance will likely cover ice damming, it could lead to higher rates.

Adding new drivers to your insurance

Parents often ask, 'When do we add teenagers with learner's permits to our auto policies?' Your insurance agent can answer this question and more. Newly permitted or licensed drivers may have discounts available. For more information, contact Client Coordinator Terri Lyons at 847.307.6129 or tlyons@plexusgroupe.com.

Let Plexus lend a hand

For more information on The Plexus Groupe's personal insurance solutions, contact us at 847-307-6100 or via the Web. We're here to help -- and we're happy to help.

When it rains, it pours: How much flood insurance does your business need?

  April showers bring May flowers.

The prospect of spring rain should also bring business owners to look at whether they have the necessary flood insurance. That’s because floods can cause billions – billions – in damage, wiping out businesses in their wake.

That’s why businesses need to consider whether flood insurance is right for them.

The government-run National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a good place to start for general flood insurance information, including rates and flood-risk areas. The organization’s website, Floodsmart.gov, also provides a primer on reimbursement in the event of flood damage.

But let’s take a look at the big picture. With huge amounts of money at stake, not to mention a company’s solvency at stake, business owners should consult a trusted insurance broker to know exactly what coverage is needed because there is real cause for concern. Furthermore, an insurance expert can help you find the insurance coverage gaps that can rear their ugly heads when least expected.

With the weather turning warmer, now is as good a time as any to take a closer look at flood insurance. Take a page from California residents, who responded to the threat of El Nino by purchasing flood insurance policies at a record rate, as The Associated Press notes.

For more information on how the strategic insurance solutions Plexus can offer, contact us at 847-307-6100 (Chicago) or 972-770-5010 (Dallas/Oklahoma), or visit us on the Web at plexusgroupe.com.