As Hurricane Isaias nears the North Carolina coast, Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey urges North Carolinians to protect their home and property by following some simple instructions before the storm hits. Forecasters predict Isaias to be a Category 1 hurricane as it approaches North Carolina with wind gusts that could cause substantial damage to residents’ property.
“The most important thing is to take action now,” said Commissioner Causey. “Preparing before the storm’s impact is the best way to mitigate damage that could cost residents thousands of dollars,” he added.
Commissioner Causey recommends residents make a home inventory by documenting what they own to help the insurance company examine losses. Pictures would help. Also, residents should talk to their insurance agent to ensure they have the right coverage for their home. In most cases, homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover flooding, and if residents live in certain areas of the state, they may also need a separate wind and hail policy.
Residents should talk to their insurance agent about flood insurance. It takes 30 days for a flood policy to take effect, so they may want to get flood protection now. Even if Isaias does not damage their property with flooding, the next one may.
“I have approved a private flood insurance plan to cover property regardless of where you live,” said the Commissioner. “Tell your insurance company that you want this coverage! They are in the process of deciding if they want to offer this product. I fear that if this state does not have a flood plan to cover every region, we may end up with billions of dollars’ worth of damage that we saw with Hurricanes Matthew and Florence.”
The Commissioner also recommends residents protect their homes by securing windows and doors. Bring in outside items that could be blown away or become “torpedoes” that cause property damage in high winds.
After the Storm:
Once the storm hits, Commissioner Causey recommends residents contact their insurance agent or company to report losses. Even if they have a separate windstorm or hail policy in addition to a homeowners’ policy, their primary homeowners’ insurer will investigate and adjust the claim. Be patient as the insurer will likely be dealing with a large number of claims.
Also, make a list of the damages and take pictures before making any temporary repairs. Do what you can to stop further damage. An example of this would be to place a tarp on roofs to prevent water from coming into the house. Keep receipts because reasonable expenses to protect property are part of the loss and may be reimbursed by an insurance company. Do not make permanent repairs until your insurance company inspects the damage and have agreed on the cost of repairs. Check with your insurance company before you dispose of damaged materials or items.
If your home is unhabitable, check with your insurance company to determine which expenses will be reimbursed.
By being proactive, Commissioner Causey is adamant North Carolinians will experience less damage and heartache in the aftermath of any storm.