Mercury offers tips to help policyholders protect their families and property before severe weather arrives
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — In anticipation of Hurricane Hilary, tropical storm watches have gone into effect for parts of Southern California, including the area stretching from the California–Mexico border to the Orange County–Los Angeles County line, and for Catalina Island. Mercury Insurance (NYSE: MCY) is urging Southern California residents in these areas to take precautions and prepare themselves, their families and property in advance of Hilary’s arrival.
“Hurricane Hilary is expected to bring severe wind and rain from Baja California peninsula into Southern California, Nevada and Arizona over the next 72 hours,” says Bonnie Lee, Vice President of Property Claims at Mercury Insurance. “Now is the time to take action, before the storm hits. Create a plan with your family so everyone knows where to go, what to pack and how to get your home ready for the upcoming storm. This way, you won’t be caught off-guard if a hurricane is heading your way and you’re instructed to evacuate.”
A tropical system such as Hilary is an extremely rare occurrence for Southern California. The last time the region encountered such a storm was in 1939, according to the National Weather Service, before storms were even given names.
Lee advises homeowners to take the following steps to prepare their homes for a hurricane:
- Pack a go-bag. There are several essential items to have at the ready in case of an emergency, especially if you need to leave your home quickly. A primary go-bag – or emergency kit – should be stored in an easily accessible place within your house or garage. Smaller kits can be kept in your car or at work. Take stock of your go-bag yearly to make sure your items are up-to-date, including:
- A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person), non-perishable food items and pet food, if applicable;
- A battery-powered or hand-crank radio (and extra batteries);
- A phone charger;
- A flashlight;
- A first aid kit;
- A whistle to signal for help;
- A can opener;
- Gloves, face masks, hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes;
- Pliers or a wrench to turn off utilities;
- At least $200 in cash in small bills, as power may be out, making ATMs, debit and credit cards unusable; and
- Prescriptions for you, your family and your pets.
- Create an emergency plan. Know where family members will meet if instructed to evacuate, as well as several options to get out of the city in case routes are blocked. Establish a meeting point ahead of time. Staying with friends or family who live outside of the local area is a good option, but you should also research hotels and shelters, as resources may be limited this year due to the pandemic.
- Be aware of flood zones in your area. Hurricanes can cause high winds, flying debris and flash flooding. Get out of town and go to higher ground. If your home is located in a flood zone and you can’t leave before the storm, remain indoors and get to the highest level possible.
- Reinforce your home. Close shutters or use plywood to board up windows and doors. Secure outdoor furniture, potted plants and other items that could become projectiles during the storm.
- Store important documents in a safe place. This includes copies of insurance policies, birth certificates, medical records and prescriptions, social security cards, important financial documents, passports and other identification, which should be stored in a waterproof container. Upload scanned copies of these documents to a cloud-based digital storage site so they’re easily accessible from your smartphone or computer if needed.
“Homeowners insurance doesn’t usually cover weather-related flooding, but flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program. If you live in a high-risk area, consider purchasing a policy,” adds Lee. “Vehicle damage may be covered by your auto insurance policy if you carry comprehensive coverage, but it’s best to make sure. Your local Mercury Insurance agent is able to help verify what is and is not covered in the event you’re affected by a hurricane.”
Lee also advises policyholders to follow a few simple procedures to help speed up the claims process if your home or vehicle is affected by a hurricane.
When filing a claim
- Contact Mercury immediately to report your loss.
- Be prepared to provide your policy number.
- Do not remove debris or damaged property that may be related to your claim.
Steps after filing a claim
- Prepare a detailed inventory of destroyed or damaged property.
- Offer photos or videos of your home and possessions to your claims representative.
- Keep copies of communications between you and your claims representative.
- Keep records and receipts for additional living expenses that were incurred if you were forced to leave your home, and provide copies to your claims representative.
Visit Mercury’s Catastrophe Center to learn more about how to protect yourself, your family and your property before a natural disaster happens.
About Mercury Insurance
Mercury Insurance (NYSE: MCY) is a multiple-line insurance carrier predominantly offering personal auto, homeowners and renters insurance through a network of independent agents in Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia, as well as auto insurance in Florida. Mercury writes other lines of insurance in various states, including commercial, business owners and business auto, landlord, home-sharing, ride-hailing and mechanical protection insurance.
Since 1962, Mercury has provided customers with tremendous value for their insurance dollar by pairing ultracompetitive rates with excellent customer service. Mercury has earned “A” ratings from A.M. Best and Fitch, as well as “Best Auto Insurance Company” designations from Forbes and Insure.com. For more information visit https://www.mercuryinsurance.com/ or follow the company on Twitter or Facebook.
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SOURCE Mercury Insurance