RALEIGH, N.C.- The torrential rain, wind and storm surge associated with Hurricane Florence continues to create dangerous conditions in many parts of the Carolinas. Insurers encourage residents to closely follow the instructions of local authorities, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI). Once the local authorities say it is safe to return home, inspect your property for storm damage and if your home has damage, contact your insurer immediately. The goal of insurers is to help policyholders get back to normal life as soon as possible.
“Our thoughts are with those who have been impacted by Hurricane Florence,” said Chris Hackett PCI’s senior director. “It’s important to contact your insurance agent or company as soon as possible to get the claims process started. Claims adjusters are prepared to help policyholders as soon as emergency officials provide access to areas damaged by the storm.”
Hurricane Florence dumped more than 30 inches of rain in some parts of the Carolinas which has led to widespread flooding, and the potential for mudslides and other dangerous conditions. PCI encourages those who have evacuated to save all receipts from hotels and restaurants as you may be eligible for reimbursement from your insurer if your home experiences damage.
Generally, wind-related damage due to Florence will be covered by a homeowner’s hurricane policy, while damage for cars is covered under the comprehensive portion of the automobile insurance policy. Business owners are covered under their commercial policies. Check with your insurance company or agent for specific details regarding your policy.
Flood damage is typically covered through the National Flood Insurance Program rather than homeowners insurance. However, cars, trucks and other vehicles damaged by flood water are typically covered under an auto policy’s comprehensive coverage. A flood insurance policy may also cover mudflow, but it must meet specific criteria defined in the policy issued through the NFIP.
If you sustain flood damage, but do not have a flood policy, there could be resources available to help you through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). For more information, contact FEMA at 800-621-3362 or www.fema.gov.
What If You Don’t Have Flood Insurance?
People should still contact their insurance agent or company as there may be property damage that occurred that is covered under their homeowners insurance policy. They should also contact FEMA as Federal Disaster Assistance may be available in the form of grants and loans if a flood has been declared a federal disaster. People who receive Federal Disaster Assistance for a flooded building will need to obtain flood insurance in the future, which is one of the requirements for federal grants and low-cost loans. They will also need to maintain the flood insurance for the life of the loan. To learn more about federal disaster assistance call 800-621-3362 or visit www.disasterassistance.gov
Prepare your Property as Waters Continue to Rise
• Review your property insurance policy, especially the “declarations” page, and check whether your policy pays replacement costs, or actual cash value for a covered loss.
• Inventory your household items, and photograph or videotape them for further documentation. Keep this information and your insurance policies in a safe place.
• Keep the name, address and claims-reporting telephone number of your insurer and agent in a safe and easily accessible place.
• Protect your property by covering all windows with plywood or shutters, moving vehicles into the garage when possible and placing grills and patio furniture indoors.
• Keep all receipts for any repairs so your insurance company can reimburse you.
• Check with your insurance adjuster for referrals to professional restoration, cleaning and salvage companies if additional assistance is needed.
PCI Flooding Recovery Tips:
• Shovel or scrape mud off walls, floors and furniture, then hose from the ceiling down before the mud dries.
• To prevent mold and odors, clean walls and floors with diluted chlorine bleach.
• Electricity and water make for a dangerous combination. Take the proper precautions to avoid electric shock.
• Dry wood furniture outdoors away from direct sunlight.
• Use public water only after it has been declared safe by an authorized official.
Recovering from flooding is always a challenging task but there are resources available to help consumers. The Federal Emergency Management Agency can be contacted at 800-621-3362 or www.fema.gov and consumers who have flood insurance policies through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) can contact either their flood insurance agent or the NFIP itself at (888) 379-9531 or www.floodsmart.gov.
The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) member company Toll-Free Policyholder Claim Phone Numbers.
2018 Hurricane Season Resources:
Online Magazine: http://bit.ly/HurricanePrep2018
2018 Insurance Checklist: http://bit.ly/InsuranceChecklist18
2018 Hurricane Fact Sheet: http://bit.ly/HurricaneFacts18
2018 Insurance Claim Tips: http://bit.ly/InsuranceClaimTips
Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value: http://bit.ly/replacementvscashvalue