Heeding the Lessons of Hurricane Katrina

WASHINGTON, July 28 (UPI) — Insurance experts at a U.S. non-profit group advise homeowners to heed the lessons of the Gulf Coast encounter with Hurricane Katrina five years ago.

The experts at the Insurance Information Institute in Washington say those who heed the lessons of the storm stand the best chance of getting their lives back after a disaster.

The lessons include:

– Checking out flood insurance, usually not covered under a standard homeowners policy, at www.floodsmart.gov.

– Creating a home inventory to determine how much insurance to purchase and, if there are losses, to speed up claims processing and possibly provide documentation for tax purposes. The Institute offers free Web-based software at www.knowyourstuff.org.

– Keeping wind and water out. Investing in storm shutters, reinforced garage doors and secure roof shingles. Seal any openings. Attach, brace gable end walls and roof sheathing.

– Having an evacuation plan ready. Keep maps, phone numbers and addresses handy and think about what else to take, such as medicines, documents, clothing and food.

– Take the 10-Minute Challenge, that is, pack and get out of the house in just 10 minutes.

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