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September 02, 2010 at 12:48 PM EDT
MetLife Auto & Home Offers Hurricane Preparedness Tips

With much of the East Coast, from the Carolinas to Maine, bracing for a close encounter with Hurricane Earl, residents in harm’s way are being urged to take precautionary measures to help minimize property damage and protect loved ones. To help consumers prepare for the storm, MetLife Auto & Home offers the following tips:

  • Decide in advance where to go, if you’d need to evacuate your home. You might choose a friend's home, a motel, or a shelter.
  • Identify a safe evacuation route—and alternate routes. Remember that roads may be crowded and that bridges or causeways may be under water.
  • Prepare for power outages by stocking up on such necessities as food and bottled water, as well as a first aid kit, a portable radio, warm clothing, and clean blankets. In addition, keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy, and avoid relying upon potential light sources, such as candles and kerosene lamps, since open flames can be hazardous.
  • Keep your car fueled, in case you have to evacuate, and store some bottled water, nutritious snacks, and blankets in the trunk.
  • Listen to local radio or television for the latest information and instructions for your area.
  • Protect your windows with boards or shutters.
  • Look around your property and reduce the threat of flying debris. This includes moving all outdoor items (patio furniture, garbage cans, garden tools) indoors, and, if possible, removing any tree limbs that may be too close to your home, or appear to be diseased or damaged.
  • Check mobile home tie-downs.
  • Make arrangements for your pets. In the event you need to be evacuated to a shelter, most shelters won't allow them. Animals that assist people with disabilities are permitted.
  • If time permits, and you live in an identified surge zone, elevate furniture to protect it from flooding or, better yet, move it to a higher floor.
  • Shut off the gas, water, and electricity in the event that you need to leave home.

For MetLife Auto & Home customers who have questions about the storm, or who need to file claims, a 24-hour, toll free claim line is available by calling 1-800-854-6011.

“We’re ready to take care of our customers in the event that the worst occurs,” said Mike Convery, vice president and chief claim officer for MetLife Auto & Home. “Our national Catastrophe Response Team of adjusters will be dispatched to areas impacted by the storm to help covered customers secure shelter, guide them through temporary repairs, issue checks for immediate expenses, and promptly compensate customers for property damage.”

Boats present unique challenges, and MetLife Auto & Home urges boat owners to take precautions to protect their property. For vessels kept in the water, it may be necessary to remove the boat from the area where the boat is moored or docked to a protected area. MetLife Auto & Home reminds its customers that after a hurricane advisory is issued by the National Weather Service for the area where their boats are moored or docked, their policies provide $250 reimbursement for the costs associated with this type of removal.

After the Storm

Convery also suggested that those who may be impacted heed the safety warnings of local officials and take precautions to protect themselves and their property. It’s important to be cautious of hazards that may make it unsafe to enter the home, such as downed power lines and broken glass. If unable to enter, customers should seek shelter elsewhere and re-enter their homes only when it is safe to do so.

When it is safe to enter, covering exposed portions of property with heavy-duty tarps and boarding up any broken windows can help protect the premises from additional exposure to the elements and minimize the possibility of additional property damage. In addition, MetLife Auto & Home suggests that consumers save receipts for temporary repairs, make inventory lists of damaged property, and write down any issues or concerns they have, so that insurance personnel can get their claims processed as soon as possible.

Additional disaster preparedness information is available at www.metlife.com/disasteradvice, which offers a wealth of material designed to help consumers reduce hurricane risk. The site provides access to detailed hurricane preparedness information developed in coordination with the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), including step-by-step instructions on how to prepare in advance of a hurricane. The site also provides consumers with a downloadable personal property inventory, to help homeowners keep careful track of their personal belongings and valuables. Additional material on disaster preparation is available under “Life Advice®,” which was developed with assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross, including information on what to do after a hurricane strikes, what types of damages are generally covered under an insurance contract, and links to additional resources.

MetLife Auto & Home is one of the nation’s leading personal lines property and casualty insurance companies. MetLife Auto & Home is a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc., a leading provider of insurance and financial services with operations throughout the U.S. and the Latin American, European, and Asia’s Pacific regions. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.

MetLife Auto & Home is a brand of Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company and its affiliates, Warwick, RI.

Contacts:

MetLife
Ted Mitchell, 401-827-3236
tjmitchell@metlife.com
or
Sarah Faria, 401-827-3906
sfaria@metlife.com
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