GEICO says preparation is best protection as hurricane season officially gets underway

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 1, 2016 – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season this year: 10 to 16 named storms, four to eight hurricanes, and one to four major hurricanes. Even with a near-average prediction, there is still a chance for more hurricane activity than recent years. Tropical Depression Bonnie has already gotten the season off to a drenching start.

Whether forecasters are calling for an active season or a more moderate forecast, GEICO offers these reminders to help you protect your family, property and vehicles from severe weather.

Create an emergency plan

Review and practice an evacuation plan with everyone in your household. Select an emergency meeting place away from home and map out the best route to reach a safe location.

Listen for official instructions

Stay alert for advisories, and know the difference between a "watch" and a "warning." Follow instructions from your local authorities regarding evacuation procedures. (A "watch" means hurricane conditions are possible. A "warning" means hurricane conditions are expected.)

Storm-proof your home

Clean gutters, drains and downpipes to prevent blockages. Trim tree branches to make them more wind resistant, and secure outdoor items that could blow around in heavy winds. Consider investing in storm shutters for additional protection on your windows.

Assemble a safety disaster kit

Prepare a necessities kit that contains drinking water, non-perishable food items, first-aid, blankets, batteries, radios and flashlights.

Do a home inventory

Take an inventory (video and photographs) of your home's personal property. It will help you gain a better understanding of the costs associated with replacing your stuff if it's ever damaged during a storm.

Gather important documents

Make sure all documents such as insurance cards, bank account numbers and IDs are placed in a water-proof container.

Consider signing up for first-aid training

Contact your local American Red Cross chapter about enrolling in a first-aid course. It's always handy to know critical emergency skills such as treating burns, covering cuts and administering CPR.

Check your insurance coverage

Call your insurance carrier and inquire about your policy coverage and limitations. Identify next steps just in case you need to file a claim.

For more information, visit GEICO's Catastrophe Center. GEICO policyholders can report a loss using the new mobile app, GEICO's Claims Center, or calling (800) 841-3000 24 hours a day.

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company), the second-largest auto insurer in the U.S., was founded in 1936 and insures more than 27 million vehicles.

To make changes, report claims, print insurance cards and purchase additional products, policyholders can log into their car insurance policy, connect via GEICO Mobile, phone or by visiting a GEICO local agent.

Homeowners, renters, condo, flood, identity theft and life coverages are written through non-affiliated insurance companies and are secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. Commercial auto and personal umbrella coverages are also available.

Visit www.geico.com for a quote or to learn more.