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For Immediate Release
July 10, 2006
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

ATTORNEY GENERAL CURRAN OFFERS TIPS TO PREPARE FOR HURRICANE SEASON

Although hurricanes are rare in Maryland, its location on the mid-Atlantic coast is a hotspot for damages caused by the tropical storms that follow in a hurricane’s wake. Hurricane season began last month, and will stay active until late fall, and Maryland residents have already felt the detrimental effects of major storms. As homeowners and citizens alike work to clean up the mess of flooding from major thunderstorms that hit last month, Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. and his office’s People’s Insurance Counsel Division offer homeowners and Maryland citizens the following tips and precautionary measures to prepare:


Measures to Take in Your Home

• Take photos or videos of your property;
• Record an inventory of your belongings – include clothes, jewelry, furniture, audio/visual equipment, computers, and other valuable items;
• Keep records of sales receipts;
• Keep records of model and serial numbers of all items;
• Store copies of this documentation outside of your home.

Review Your Insurance Policy

Standard homeowner insurance policies do not cover flood damage. The standard Named Perils Policy (HO 2) covers only those perils specifically named under the policy, such as fire, windstorm, hail or theft. A named perils policy will also specify exclusions to the perils named under the policy. An All-Risk policy (HO 3) offers broad protection and covers all perils except those that are specifically excluded (e.g. flood). It is important to review your policy and to understand what coverage you have, and decide what coverage you may need.

• Do you know what coverage you have?
• Does your policy cover debris removal and sewer back-up?
• Does your policy cover the expenses of a temporary residence if you are unable to live in your home?
• What is your deductible?
• Is your coverage for actual cash value or replacement cost value?
• If you have jewelry or collectibles do you have additional coverage for them?

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), between 20 and 25 percent of flood claims occur in medium or low risk flood areas. The standard homeowner insurance policy does not cover flood damage. Flood insurance is issued by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federal plan. Homeowners and business owners can buy flood insurance regardless of whether or not the property is in or out of flood plain, as long as the property is located in a participating community. For a list of participating communities go to FEMA’s website at http://www.fema.gov/cis/MD.pdf. Flood insurance policies, whether new or adjusted, require a 30-day wait period. For more information regarding flood insurance, go to FEMA’s website at http://www.fema.gov/business/nfip/index.shtm.

For any questions regarding flood insurance and home insurance policies, the People’s Insurance Counsel can be reached by emailing pic@oag.state.md.us or by calling 410-576-6432. The People’s Insurance Counsel Division advocates for homeowners insurance and medical professional liability insurance consumers. The Division produces materials to assist consumers in their insurance coverage decisions, assists individuals with their complaints filed with the Maryland Insurance Administration and investigates insurance company practices that adversely affect insurance policy holders.


 

   

Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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