Preparing for Hurricane Florence

This week, Hurricane Florence strengthened to a Category 4 storm and most weather models predict a direct hit to North and South Carolina, with widespread effects throughout the east coast.   If you have not done so already, now is the time to review your hurricane insurance policy, prepare yourself, your home and your business for the storm and create an emergency plan for you and your loved ones.

Review Your Policy

Hurricane deductibles under standard homeowner’s policies are set at a percentage of the home’s insured value, usually ranging from 1 to 5 percent. The insurer will set a trigger for the deductible based on if the National Weather Service declares or names a storm. Review information regarding your hurricane deductible on the Declarations page of your homeowner’s policy before a storm hits so that you are well prepared after the storm.

Standard homeowner’s policies cover wind damage from hurricanes and tropical storms. However, flood damage is not covered. You will have to purchase a special policy through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program or from a private insurer.

It is important to note that it takes 30 or more days from when a flood policy is purchased to when coverage takes effect. So while it may be too late for Hurricane Florence, if the 2018 Hurricane Season turns out to be nearly as bad as the 2017 season, you will be in a better place for any future storms.

Prepare Your Home and Business

The best way to prevent major damage from a hurricane is to be prepared. Here are a few things you should do before a storm hits:

Create Your Emergency Plan

When a hurricane hits, it is important to have an emergency plan in place.  Your emergency plan should be known and understood by the whole family.   The plan needs to include step-by-step directions for remaining in your home and evacuating. The National Weather Service is a great resource, providing guidelines for creating an emergency supply kit and developing an evacuation plan.

During the Storm

When you are in the thick of the storm, particular in the warning area, follow these general guidelines to stay safe:

After the Storm

It is important to stay alert after the storm has passed. There are a number of dangers to consider in the aftermath of the storm. Follow these general tips:

It is also very important to have your insurance policy information, your insurance agent’s contact information and other important information written down and easily accessible.  If the power goes out you may be unable to search for information online or charge your cell phone if you need to call for help or file a claim.

Although you cannot control the weather, you can take steps to prepare for and reduce the damaging effects of a hurricane. If you need help reviewing your homeowner’s policy or are looking to increase your protection, contact RCM&D.