|Be prepared for hurricane season|
|Published Monday, May 13, 2019|
Last year’s hurricane season was a difficult one for North Carolina. Hurricanes Florence and Michael hit our state, causing devastation from the mountains to the coast. Today, as parts of our state are still recovering and rebuilding from the damage, the 2019 hurricane season isn’t far off. It starts in June and runs through the end of November.
And while we hope that this year’s hurricane season will be calmer than last year’s, it’s important to be prepared. Here are some things you can do to make sure you’re ready for a hurricane.
First, make sure you have an emergency plan in place and that you’ve discussed it with your family and kids. Your preparedness could save you precious time in the moment.
Gather all of your important documents. Think about what you’ll need if you needed to evacuate your home: drivers’ license information, mortgage and insurance documents, bank account information, Social Security and health insurance cards, and passports. Collect all of these items and store them in a waterproof and fireproof container or in a disaster supply kit. Consider making a second set of copies of all of these documents and storing them in your bank safety deposit box. If a hurricane does hit, you’ll need all of this information to begin recovering. And don’t forget to take your bills, too – creditors will still expect on-time payments.
Make a list of important phone numbers that you may need. This should include contact information for loved ones, but also your bank, insurance company or agent, and health insurer. Add our office’s Consumer Protection Division phone number to the list: 1-877-5-NO-SCAM. In the event of a disaster, we can help you navigate potential scams and take steps to protect your finances.
Inventory your home and car. If you need to submit an insurance claim, having an accurate record of the condition of your house before a hurricane hit will make the claims process far easier. Videotape or photograph each room, and make sure to record your most valuable items. Email these to yourself, and store a copy at your bank or along with your important documents.
Keep a battery-powered radio on hand in case you lose power during a storm. You’ll be able to stay updated on what’s happening in your area and get alerts from government and law enforcement officials. And if you hear that a storm is on the way, fuel up beforehand and withdraw some emergency cash. Debit and credit cards may be difficult to use during power outages.
If a storm hits and the governor declares a state of emergency, North Carolina’s price gouging law will go into effect immediately. This law makes it illegal to raise prices or charge too much during a crisis. Since Hurricanes Florence and Michael hit, I have brought seven price gouging lawsuits against businesses and individuals. My lawyers and I have obtained judgements in four lawsuits, winning nearly $500,000 in consumer restitution, debt forgiveness, penalties, and fees. Our office is committed to holding price gougers accountable and you can report concerns at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or http://ncdoj.gov/gouging.
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