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shutterstock_135278885-2June marked the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, but with 10 of the costliest hurricanes on record arriving between August and October, now is the time to prepare for the worst by doing your best to protect your property.

Some of the most important actions home and business owners can take are trimming trees surrounding their properties and ensuring that any furniture and lightweight yard structures and decorations are secure.

The Weather Channel reports that the number of hurricanes and tropical storms begins to rise slowly through June and July but then shoots up in August, peaking in September, slowing in October, and then returning to normal levels through October and November. But there are no concrete assurances when one of these great natural disasters will arrive. Among the biggest hurricanes the United States has experienced, Katrina, Irene and Andrew all arrived in August, Ike was in September and Sandy hit in October.

To prepare for these events, owners can take some straightforward precautionary steps to help protect their investments.

Trim nearby trees of their low-hanging or weak branches to prevent them from being torn off in a storm and thrown into homes and businesses. Try to keep branches from growing longer than five feet. Remove branches that are hanging over the edifice that could fall onto a roof during a storm. Remove leaves, sticks or other debris that easily be blown around from yards, driveways or parking lots, including gravel or other rocks used in walkways or flowerbeds. Also, arrange with the local municipal authorities or a contractor to have tree limbs trimmed away from nearby power lines.

It may also be wise to consult an arborist or tree doctor about the roots of nearby trees, as the large amounts of rain that accompany hurricanes can loosen roots and possibly cause trees to fall into homes or businesses.

Items kept outside a structure should also be considered. Remove and store lawn furniture and place garbage cans and potted plants in a safe area out of reach of hurricane winds, such as in a garage or basement. Sections of fences or swinging fence doors should be secured.

As a leading provider of personal and commercial insurance coverage in Rhode Island, OceanPoint wants our clients to understand the risks of hurricanes and take the right precautions so that unexpected claims do not become necessary following heavy storms.

OceanPoint Insurance Agency is committed to providing clients with the best possible solutions to obtain protection and peace of mind. To learn more about how to protect your property during hurricane season, call us at 847.5200.

shutterstock_119265961Did you know June 1st marked the beginning of hurricane season? The 2014 hurricane season has arrived after last years unusually quiet season, which was the first since 1994 not to have a single Category 3 or stronger storm. Since even the experts are unsure what 2014 has in store, it’s important to have the appropriate insurance protection in place now.

In order to prepare you for unpredictable storms and help you recover from the aftermath, we offer you the following tips:

  • Make copies of important documents, such as insurance policies, the deed to your home, and a home inventory.
  • Create an emergency supply list.
  • Review your evacuation route and emergency shelter locations with family members.
  • After a storm, report any damage to your insurance agent, explain your overall situation and ask any questions you may have, such as: Am I covered; How long will it take to process my claim; Do I need to obtain estimates?
  • Do not return to your home until local authorities authorize you that it is safe.
  • Look for any structural damage to the foundation, porches, stairs, and overhangs.
  • Make temporary repairs to prevent further damage and save receipts for any material you purchase.
  • Take photos of any damaged items before you make any repairs.
  • Make lists of anything that is damaged and include information, such as brands, model numbers, location of purchase, when it was purchased, etc.
  • Keep copies of all lists and documents you submit to your insurance agent, and anything your insurance agent provides you.

While Mother Nature is unpredictable, you can take steps to ensure you and your loved ones remain safe and damage is mitigated. It is crucial you review your homeowners and flood insurance policies so you are fully aware of what is covered in the event of a natural disaster.

Call your OceanPoint agent at 847.5200 for a complimentary policy review and be ready for whatever life brings.

During hurricane season there is always a chance we could experience numerous storms, several of which may have the potential to become major hurricanes. It is crucial that you are prepared for whatever may happen.

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There is a special importance placed on hurricane preparedness for boat owners. To help ensure you take the necessary precautions, we offer a few helpful tips for how to prepare your boat in the event of a hurricane.

  • Have a plan of action in advance.
    • Boats remaining in a marina: Double all lines and attach them high on the strongest and tallest pilings, to allow for tidal rise. Make sure lines will not slip off pilings and that they are installed properly.
    • Boats remaining on a mooring: The mooring must be designed and maintained to withstand the weight of your boat (contact your marina to determine the maximum load their mooring will withstand and how that relates to a Category 3 storm). Inspect and service the chain and swivels that connect the mooring buoy annually.
    • Boats that can be  trailered: Haul your boat out of the water and move it to a safe location as far from tidal waters as possible.
    • Be aware of your lease or storage rental agreement with the marina or storage facility and know your responsibilities and liabilities as well as those of the marina.
    • Fully charge the boat’s batteries, and have backup batteries.
    • Shut off all devices consuming electricity except bilge pumps, and disconnect shore power cables.

When a hurricane is coming, after you have made anchoring or mooring provisions:

  • Remove anything portable such as sails, dinghies, electronics, cushions, etc. and securely tie down anything that cannot be removed.
  • Keep a list of everything left on the boat and what was removed.
  • Have all records including insurance policies, a recent photo of your boat, boat registration, equipment inventory, and the lease agreement with the marina or storage facility, together in one place.
  • Make sure you know the telephone numbers of appropriate authorities, such as the U.S. Coast Guard, Harbor Master, National Weather Service, and your insurance agent, and keep them on hand.
  • Do not stay aboard.

After the hurricane has passed.

  • Be aware of possible downed electrical wires. There may be stray AC current from submerged outlets, shore cords in the water, damaged vessel systems, etc. Do not enter the water!
  • Check for leaking natural gas and propane by smell only, not with matches or candles!

The most important things to do to protect your boat from hurricanes or any severe storms are planning, preparation and timely action. It is also critical that you have the proper insurance coverage in place, and fully understand your policy. Call your OceanPoint Insurance agent today, to ensure you are fully aware of what is covered under your policy, and we’d be happy to give you a complimentary policy review.

During spring storm season, it’s shocking how quickly your home can become an insurance claim. Heavy rains and  hurricanes rarely provide much advance warning. If storm damage hits your home this season, the insurance company may not pay for your belongings if you can’t prove what was lost.

Do yourself a favor and create a home inventory. Simply shoot video or photos of everything you own. (Don’t forget your clothes and shoes, which can really add up!)

Then, store the photos, data files or videotape in a fireproof safe. Make a copy for your safe deposit box, if you’ve got one. It’s also smart for you to save or photograph receipts, owner’s manuals or other proof of purchase of valuable possessions.

Having a home inventory can mean thousands of dollars to you, should your home be damaged by a storm or other catastrophe. You have worked hard for your home and possessions, and you will never regret making the effort to keep track of them. It’s time well spent for a time you hope will never come.

At OceanPoint Insurance Agency, we have built our business by helping our customers be prepared for unforeseen events. Call us at 401-847-5200 today if we can help you in any way.