New York, NY, July 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — It’s an all too common tragedy: beloved pets lost or abandoned in the wake of a disaster. The Insurance Information Institute recommends that everyone have a disaster plan, but if you have pets, advance planning is key.
Have an evacuation plan: Most emergency shelters don’t accept pets. It is important to know where to go, so you can leave early. Find out ahead of time if hotels, vets or kennels along your evacuation route will take your pet. Ask friends and relatives outside the disaster area if they can board your pet. And should disaster strike while you’re away, make plans in advance for someone to pick up your pet.
Create a disaster kit for your pets: Include veterinary records, medicines, your vet’s phone number and copies of your pet health insurance policy. Bring leashes, harnesses and carriers, enough food and water for at least three days, and, if you have cats, cat litter and a portable litter box. And, make sure that you have a recent photo of you and your pet in case you get separated.
Be prepared to leave as soon as possible: Don’t wait for an official evacuation as you might be ordered to leave your pets behind. The earlier you leave the more options you will have. Be sure to keep pets on leashes or in carriers at all times. And make sure they are wearing up-to-date identification with your cellphone number and the number of a friend or relative in case you become separated. Once you return home, give your pets time to adjust: Don’t let them roam free right away. Familiar landmarks and smells might be gone, and your pet could become disoriented and wander off.
Lastly, insurance is an important component of disaster planning. Everyone should contact their insurance representative to make sure they have the right type and amount of insurance, including flood insurance. You should also have an up-to-date home inventory of your personal belongings in order to purchase the right amount of insurance and make the claims process easier.
About the Insurance Information Institute
The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) is a nonprofit educational, research and communications organization funded by the insurance industry to explain what insurance is and how it works. More information can be found at www.iii.org.