News Room

Important reminders as Hurricane Irma moves toward S.C.

COLUMBIA, S.C. – September 7, 2017- In advance of the potential impact from Hurricane Matthew, Governor Henry McMaster has issued an executive order declaring a State of Emergency, and prepared coastal residents for a possible evacuation order.

The South Carolina Insurance Association offers the following tips and tools to help you prepare:

Decide where you’ll go if an evacuation order is issued. Have more than one alternative – the home of a friend or family member, a hotel, a shelter. Keep the phone numbers and addresses of these locations handy. In case your family members are separated during the evacuation, identify a specific place to meet and ask an out-of-town family member to serve as a contact.

The Insurance Information Institute’s Know Your Plan app includes preparation checklists and incorporates a geo-targeted emergency alert feed that provides up-to-the-minute information about local evacuation routes and other details about the disaster.

Plan what to take with you.

• Medicines, prescriptions and first aid kit
• Bottled water
• Clothing and bedding (sleeping bags, pillows)
• Flashlight, battery-powered radio and extra batteries
• Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members
• Computer hard drive or laptop
• Toiletries, including baby wipes for easy cleanup
• Pet food and other items needed for pets
• Important documents including:
o Insurance policies
o Prescriptions
o Passports, birth and marriage certificates
o Drivers licenses or ID cards; Social Security cards
o Bank, savings and retirement account numbers
o Recent tax returns
o Wills, deeds, stocks and bonds

Create a home inventory. An up-to-date home inventory can speed up the claims filing process and substantiate losses for income tax purposes. It’s not too late to document your personal possessions. Be sure to take photographs, keep receipts and note the make and model of your most valuable items.

Prepare the exterior of your home and yard. Nail any loose shingles or boards, and cover windows with plywood or storm shutters. Bring lawn furniture, potted plants, garbage cans, grills and outdoor decorative items into the garage. Cut weak limbs and those overhanging a structure and remove yard debris.

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety provides tips to make your home more resilient to disasters.

Insurance reminders

• Standard homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover flood damage – the most common natural disaster in the U.S. However, it is important to note that the National Flood Insurance Plan (NFIP) has a 30-day waiting period before policies take effect.

• For flooded automobiles, comprehensive coverage is needed to cover flood damage.

• A saturated ground can increase the likelihood of falling trees. A basic homeowners insurance policy does provide coverage for trees that fall on insured structures.

• Consult with your insurance agent or company to see if you’re protected.

Filing a claim

For car, home, or business owners who have damage from the storm, here are some tips for filing an insurance claim:

• Survey the damage and notify your insurance agent or company of any losses and leave contact information.

• Make any temporary repairs necessary to protect property from further damage. Keep all receipts for material used.

• Do not dispose of damaged personal property until an adjuster has had the opportunity to examine it.

• Photographs or video documentation of damaged property may be helpful.

• Find your insurance policy and have your policy number handy when you are ready to make a claim.

For more information from the S.C. Insurance Association, or to schedule an interview, call (803)252-3455.

Formerly known as the South Carolina Insurance News Service, the S.C. Insurance Association has been providing free insurance information to consumers and the media about property and casualty insurance issues for over 40 years.

For more information, contact the South Carolina Insurance News Service at 803-252-3455 or use our contact form.