After a busy Monday night of severe thunderstorms brought downed trees and left thousands without power across the state, North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey is providing helpful tips to residents on what to do after a storm.
Even though the storm has passed, there are other dangers to watch out for such as downed power lines, ruptured gas lines, standing flood water, fallen trees and damaged structures.
For insurance purposes, it is important to inspect your property for damage as soon as possible. Take pictures to document any damage. Do not make any improvements until an insurance adjuster inspects the property unless it is necessary to prevent further damage.
“All North Carolinians need to equip themselves with the knowledge of what to do before, during and after a storm,” said Commissioner Mike Causey. “North Carolina is no stranger to powerful storms, so it’s important to take the time in advance to familiarize yourself with these tips.”
Sadly, fraud is very common after a big storm. Commissioner Causey encourages storm victims to only work with licensed and insured contractors. Our NCDOI Criminal Investigations Division has a staff of Special Agents across the state who investigate insurance fraud daily. For more information about how to report fraud or how to protect yourself and loved ones from insurance fraud after a storm, visit our website.
As the 2023 hurricane season continues until November 30, there is a chance for more severe weather in North Carolina. Commissioner Causey offers the following storm readiness tips to help North Carolinians prepare before and during a storm:
- Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. Know exactly what your insurance policy covers. Homeowners’ policies do not cover flooding. Be aware there is a 30-day waiting period before flood policies take effect. If you live in a rental property, your landlord’s insurance only covers the building. None of your personal belongings are insured unless you purchase your own renters’ policy. Consumers can purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program at 877-336-2627 or contact our NCDOI Consumer Services Division at 855-408-1212 for a list of companies that may offer private flood insurance.
- Compile important documents. Gather important paperwork, including insurance policies, medical records and prescriptions. Be prepared to bring copies with you if you are forced to evacuate your home. Know how to get in touch with your insurance agent and company.
- Create a home inventory. Go room to room in your home and write down the brand name, description, estimated value and date of purchase of items in your home. It is also helpful to compile receipts, appraisal documents and serial numbers. Take videos or photographs of your belongings. Store your home inventory and related documents in a safe, easily accessible place online, on your smartphone, on your computer or in a fire-proof box or safe deposit box.
- Identify potential hazards around your home. Hanging tree branches, loose shingles, patio furniture and other outdoor objects can cause damage or injuries in a storm. Make repairs or secure large objects to reduce the threat.
- Check your emergency toolkit and to-go bag. Update items such as food, medicine and batteries. Make sure to include everyone in your home, including pets when building your emergency preparedness kits.
- Electricity may go out, so make sure you have extra drinking water. Also, fill the bathtub with water for bathing and flushing the toilet.
- Shelter in place if officials advise it.
- Stay away from windows, glass doors and skylights.
- Find a safe place to stay in the interior of the home on a lower floor unless flooding is a possibility.
- Make sure your cell phone is charged. Do not use a landline if lightning is present.
- Turn off the electricity at the main breaker if flooding becomes a threat.
- Remain indoors until officials give notice that it is safe to go outside.
- If officials order an evacuation, do not come home until officials advise it is safe to do so.
For more information on how to be prepared before, during and after any storm, visit www.ncdoi.gov/disaster or contact the N.C. Department of Insurance Consumer Division at 1-855-408-1212.