There is a lot of press given to the major weather forecasting groups such as The Tropical Meteorology Project, The Weather Channel (WSI), Colorado State University and many others.
We talk about their forecasts and tend to internalize their predictions to some extent.
How many of you may have listened to the current forecast of ‘lower than expected number of hurricanes, or less active’ for this hurricane season, and have felt a sense of relief?
We must keep in mind that the only hurricane we have to worry about is the one that actually does damage here at home.
And this storm is very difficult to predict, months or even weeks in advance.
Therefore, we should all be prepared for this potential hurricane, just in case it does come to visit us in Bermuda.
For those readers who have loved ones or property in other jurisdictions that are susceptible to hurricanes, you have an increased chance of being affected by a hurricane.
So what does ‘being prepared’ for a hurricane mean?
There are many different aspects of your life that must be considered and, because of that, there are many websites that offer great checklists and charts to help you be prepared.
You will see that part of being prepared is to review your insurance policy.
This should be done every year by the renewal date, but if you need an alternative date, a good one for your calendar is June 1 — the start of hurricane season.
Why insure your home? The common answer that many people say is that, “the bank makes us insure our home building because of our mortgage”.
In other words, the banks want to know that if your home suffers damage from a hurricane, there will be monies available to pay to repair the damage.
If there wasn’t an insurance policy in place, you, as the homeowner, would have to come up with the money for repairs, and there could be a significant amount of damage in a hurricane.
If a good part of the roof is blown away this could cost more than $100,000.
If you had to come up with this money yourself, you may have to go back to the bank for another loan or ask to increase your mortgage, neither of which are ideal situations, hence the need for insurance.
A very important point is that you do not need to insure your home at the insurer the bank recommends.
Any bank just wants to make sure that a valid insurance policy is in place that will protect your home properly in the event of damage caused by the ‘usual’ type of contingencies (ie. fire, windstorm, lightning, etc).
So, you need to make sure that your policy is paid up to date and is for the correct value, and that you send your policy schedule to your bank each year.
You probably already understand the need for home buildings insurance, however contents insurance should be just as important to you.
If there is damage caused to your home building, there is almost always damage to your contents at the same time.
Contents insurance is inexpensive and should be considered by both homeowners and renters, as policies can be put in place for either party.
Insurance should be part of your plan for preparing for a hurricane and should be reviewed at least once per year, whether a hurricane hits Bermuda or not in any given year.
Jennifer Murdoch is the general manager of Colonial Insurance Company Ltd. Call 296-3700.