With the start of hurricane season, officials urge homeowners and renters to get flood insurance now

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It is June 1, which means the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, so homeowners and renters are urged to get flood insurance now.

Officials say don't wait for the next storm of the season because you may find yourself with a flooded home and no money to fix it.

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon explains what you need to do before another storm enters the Gulf of Mexico.

"My message is four parts - number one, get with your professional, your insurance agent," said Donelon. "Go over all of your insurance needs. Know what your coverages are in all areas. Long-term care, health insurance, but at this time of the year, the focus is on property insurance."

He said if you have a home, joining the National Flood Insurance Program is your best bet. However, you are encouraged to do it soon because once you sign up, you have to wait 30 days before your policy goes into effect, which can be dangerous during hurricane season.

"Number two, access the federally subsidized National Flood Insurance Program, benefitting property owners in our state more than any other state in America," Donelon said.

"Number three, do an inventory of your property. Walk through your house. Cell phones make it real easy. Take video of your flat screen TV, your jewelry, artwork if you have any, your furnishings - in order to make filing a claim easier after a flooding event or even a fire event," Donelon added.

"And fourthly, if you're forced to evacuate to get out of harm's way, abide by those warnings and those orders of local officials, but take with you your insurance policy and your contact information, the name of your agent, and his or her phone number or the 800 number for your insurer if you buy it over the phone, so that you can begin the claims process after a loss quicker than the rest of the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of your neighbors who will be going through the same thing. The quicker you start it, the quicker you get your property and your life back together," Donelon explained.

"We are so vulnerable this time of the year to hurricane events. We'll be for the next six months. The real peak doesn't hit us until mid-August and diminishes to mid-October," said Donelon.

When you do get that plan, make sure to keep your policy information with you, especially if you have to evacuate.

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