With less than a month to go in hurricane season, New Hampshire regulators remain ready to assist residents who have already weathered several natural disasters in 2011.
The Atlantic hurricane system officially ends Nov. 30, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), and that date likely cannot come too soon for many residents of the Granite State still recovering from Tropical Storm Irene in late August.
Irene killed dozens of people along the East Coast and inflicted as much as $5 billion in damages, according to III estimates. It was followed a week later by Tropical Storm Lee, which swept through many of the same regions.
And Granite State residents were hit by more foul weather last weekend, when a surprise winter storm led to more deaths and property damage and a federal disaster declaration. III has predicted that the latest severe weather event will lead to thousands of damage claims being filed in New Hampshire and other affected states.
Officials with the state Insurance Department urge consumers to contact them for assistance in filing claims for damages on their New Hampshire car insurance and homeowner policies as a result of hurricane winds, flooding or other weather-related losses.
Regulators say the key to weathering such storms is preparedness. They encourage consumers to familiarize themselves with policy details, file claims as soon as possible in the wake of a disaster and keep organized notes documenting correspondence with insurers and losses incurred.
Industry experts say the large number of natural disasters this year should prompt residents of hard-hit states to strongly consider adding comprehensive coverage to their auto policies.
Although it costs a little more than a bare-bones policy and is not required by law in any state, comprehensive is the only type of coverage that can protect policyholders against losses due to fires, flooding and other weather-related causes.