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Hurricane season is here, but there is still time to get prepared just in case a storm strikes. That includes taking stock of your insurance coverage and understanding some simple ways to help you file an insurance claim more quickly and easily if your property is damaged.

“Consumers should consider taking steps to protect themselves now. Developing a home inventory, assembling information on your insurance policies and understanding what to do should a disaster affect you are things that can better prepare anyone against losses from a storm,” Insurance Superintendent James Wrynn said.

Hurricane season extends from June 1 through Nov. 30 and Wrynn urged consumers to consider these practical steps:

Review Your Insurance Policies

Make sure you know what is covered by your policy and what is not covered. Call your insurance agent or company if you have any questions or need information on increasing the limits of your policy. Remember that flood damage is not covered by standard homeowners or renter’s insurance and must be covered under a separate flood insurance policy.

Create a home inventory

It’s important to have a detailed list that catalogs the belongings in your home with such information as cost and date of purchase. A sample inventory form is on the Insurance Department’s website (

It’s a good idea to document the contents of your home by taking videotape or still photos of every room. Photograph the contents of opened drawers and closets, and don’t forget to take pictures of items in your garage, attic and storage buildings. The more detail you include, the easier it will be for an insurance company to evaluate a loss. Photograph a newspaper or magazine in at least one of the pictures to document the date the photos were taken.

Consider keeping a duplicate copy of your inventory and photo record at a location away from your home. This could be with a relative or trusted friend where the information is accessible yet away from the potential disaster area.

Collect and Store Your Insurance Information

Keep copies of your insurance policies with your home inventory records. Make sure to have a copy of the policy declarations page listing all of your coverages, as well as your insurance cards. It’s important to have 24-hour contact details for your insurance agent and insurance company, along with your insurer’s website and mailing addresses. It’s a good idea to store this information in a waterproof, fireproof box or safe, and if you need to evacuate your home, don’t forget to take this information with you.

Homeowners Resources

The Insurance Department’s online “Homeowner’s Resource Center” offers detailed information and a number of useful tools consumers may find helpful. It can be found at the following location on the Insurance Department’s website,

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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