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ISSUED 11/02/2009 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

REVIEWING INSURANCE POLICIES A GOOD FIRST STEP TO BE PREPARED FOR SEVERE WINTER STORMS

Consumers Should Consider Actions Like Developing Home Inventories

It’s always important for consumers, especially with the winter storm season approaching, to make sure their insurance is up-to-date. Uninsured or underinsured consumers risk serious financial loss if a big storm hits.

“Reviewing insurance and understanding what your policy covers and what it doesn’t cover is the best first step to being prepared. It will prompt you to make any necessary adjustments. Then there are other practical things – like creating a home inventory – that will better prepare you if you need to file claims after a storm,” Insurance Superintendent James Wrynn said.

Wrynn offered these pointers for homeowners and renters:

  • Make sure copies of all insurance policies, including homeowners, renters, flood, automobile, business and life are readily available.
  • Keep a list of the names of your insurance agent, broker and/or company, including office phone numbers, mailing addresses and Web site addresses. It’s a good idea to record policy numbers on this list for quick reference.
  • Develop a home inventory with such information as receipts and photo/video records showing your real estate and personal property. Make sure you have two copies – one at home and another in a safe but accessible location away from your home.
  • Creating a video is often an easy way to develop a photographic record of your belongings. Include a newspaper in the images with a close-up of the date of publication. That is a great way to authenticate the date the images were taken and may help to avoid disputes later.
  • Consider having some items, such as jewelry, art objects or other valuables, appraised so that you can fully document a loss should it occur. Make sure that policies provide adequate limits to cover any possible loss.

The Insurance Department’s online “Homeowners Resource Center” offers detailed information and a number of useful tools, including a sample home inventory consumers will find helpful. The “Homeowners Resource Center” can be found at the following location on the Insurance Department’s website, http://www.ins.state.ny.us/hmonindx.htm.

Consumers should contact their insurance company, agent or broker to get answers to specific questions about their policies. Consumers who need further help should feel free to contact the New York State Insurance Department’s Consumer Services Bureau from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday toll-free at 800-342-3736.

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