How to prepare for National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month.

Though it's been a decidedly quiet season for hurricane activity along the Atlantic, meteorologists point out it's usually between August and the end of September that weather threats tend to develop. Additionally, some of the most substantial hurricanes that have hit the U.S. have come later on, most notably Sandy, which roared ashore in October 2012.

With the proper preparation, however, whatever Mother Nature has up its sleeves can be accounted for.

September is National Preparedness Month, a time when property owners are encouraged to go over what steps they have taken in order to improve their chances of effectively withstanding trying circumstances. To help, the Property Casualty Insurers Association has some tips of what families and businesses can do to be ready for the unexpected.

  • Plan based on history of events. Though earthquakes can take place any place at any time, West Coast residents are more likely to feel their effects than those living in New England. Similarly, hurricanes almost always impact the eastern half of the country than they do the Midwest.Whatever hazard is the biggest threat, PCIAA says to plan for that.
  • Make sure belongings are covered. In the event of a storm that damages the roof or foundation, home insurance provides owners with the protection they need to get the structure of the residence back in good shape. Because this can sometimes be costly, it's important to double check what coverage is in place for personal possessions. PCIAA suggested speaking with an insurance agent, who can help policyholders understand if their coverage is sufficient or may be in need of an adjustment. 
  • Understand what home insurance includes. Often times, people realize their insurance doesn't include the things they thought it did after the fact, such as flooding and earthquake protection. PCIAA said these coverages can be added on at the policyholder's discretion.

The Insurance Information Institute has a mobile application that people can download for free onto their Internet-enabled devices. Called "Know Your Stuff," the app is free to use and helps with the inventory process, which is needed when preparing for worst-case scenarios caused by disasters.