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It’s scary when your home or business is under mandatory evacuation.  There is a multitude of reasons why a mandatory evacuation is necessary.  We saw wildfires and mudslides just this past year cause many to flee their homes. The same can be said for the unusual earthquakes, and hurricane activity in the southeast this past August and September. A mandatory evacuation is dangerous, and it’s important that you know what to do.

Steps to Take in an Evacuation

Our homes and businesses are some of our most cherished possessions. So it can be difficult to just leave them behind during a natural disaster. But the most important thing to consider when under mandatory evacuation or even evacuation warning is your and your family’s safety.

First, if you live in an area that’s prone to fire, earthquake or other natural disasters, it pays to be prepared.  Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Keep copies of important documents (proof of insurance, deed to your house, medical records, passports, etc.) in a secure, off-site location, such as a safe-deposit box.
  2. Have a grab-and-go kit at the ready for emergency evacuations. Include a change of clothes, first-aid kit, water and a few non-perishable food items.
  3. Keep your yard well maintained and clear brush up to 100 feet from any structure.
  4. Know where your utility shut-off valves are located and make sure they’re clearly marked.

Once under evacuation, it is important to follow evacuation instructions closely.  If you are being told to leave your home or business, it is probably for a good reason.  Listen to those warnings and get out to keep you and your family as safe as possible.

Once you know you have to leave, you want to find somewhere to stay that is out of harm’s way. A hotel is usually going to be your best bet to find somewhere safe to stay for an extended period. But that can get costly. This is when it’s important to know the coverage limits on your insurance policy. Our team at Brashears Insurance can review your policy with you at any time to verify adequate coverage exists.

Mandatory Evacuation Checklist

Here’s a quick checklist of things to do when your home or business is under mandatory evacuation (if you have time):

  1. Don’t forget Fido. If it’s not safe for you, it’s not safe for your pets either.
  2. Secure anything that’s not nailed down. Bring in patio furniture, trash cans and garden equipment.
  3. Make sure your yard is clear of debris. This is especially important during a fire
  4. Shut off utilities. Turning off electricity, water and gas will help prevent additional damages from flood, fire or explosion.
  5. Secure your valuables. Mandatory evacuations are a prime target for criminals. Make sure your home or business is secure and your valuables are locked up.

Maintain Receipts

While away from your home or business, you’ll want to be sure you are keeping track of everything you spend.  Keep receipts for the hotels or motels that you have stayed. If you had to drive long distances to get away from the evacuation zone, receipts for gas used could also be beneficial. The same can be said for money that you have had to spend on food and such to get you by for the time being.

The receipts are essential because you will likely be seeking reimbursement for these from your home or business insurance policy under the “Loss of Use” coverage. Most homeowners insurance policies will cover your additional living expenses, which is the expense you incur beyond what you would normally spend for things like accommodations, food, and utilities.  Keep receipts so you know what you have spent due to the evacuation and can ensure proper reimbursement.

Having an awareness of what your insurance policy covers in the event of an evacuation is very important.  Knowledge of things such as coverages, what limits you have, deductibles, are all good information about which to have sound experience.  Work with our team at Brashears Insurance to be sure you have adequate coverage.  If not, we can help you get the home or business insurance policy you need, today!