The official start of hurricane season was June 1st. This time of year marks the start of summer, means kids are done with school, and thoughts of summer vacations and summer camps may consume everyone’s spare time. Hurricane preparedness often takes a back seat. However, those that devote just a little bit of time for preparedness will be ahead of the game if and when a hurricane disaster strikes.

For the entire six-month season, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says there’s a 70 percent chance of nine to 15 named storms (with top winds of 39 mph or higher), of which four to eight will strengthen to a hurricane (with top winds of 74 mph or higher). Of those, one to three will become major hurricanes with top winds of 111 mph or higher, ranking Category 3, 4 or 5. Based on the period 1981-2010, an average season produces 12 named storms with six hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

So the 2012 Hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin is predicted to be average, and “less active” than recent past years. But all it takes is one storm for a problem. Even before the “official” start of the 2012 season, Tropical Storms Alberto and Beryl formed. Last season was an active one, but many storms stayed out in open water, turned at the last minute, or ventured into unusual territory, like Hurricane Irene heading up the East Coast of the United States and affecting New Jersey and New York.

Even with the more favorable hurricane predictions this season, residents of coastal regions are encouraged to take steps to prepare to avoid a last minute scramble and being caught off guard. Develop an emergency plan for your household/business/community; load up on water, non-perishable food, and flashlights; and get a disaster supply kit. Steps should be taken to review policies to confirm and verify coverage, discuss other available coverage with insurance agents/representatives, photograph the condition of insured property, conduct basic maintenance like tree trimming and debris removal, and obtain peace of mind knowing that proactive steps have been taken.

Do not assume that everything is set with your property insurance coverage. Pull out the folder from your records and look for the coverage verification page and make sure that all of the dates and coverage amounts are what you need. If there are any questions, contact your insurance professional immediately.