Prepare now for insurance claims in case of storm damage

Hail lands in a front yard. (User submitted photo)
Hail lands in a front yard. (User submitted photo)

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - With storm season under way, now is the time to purchase or prepare your homeowner's or car insurance. After Tuesday's severe storms dumped large baseball and golf ball sized hail on many homes and cars, it is best to be safe and get covered.

Insurance agents say your home or car policy could cover repair costs after a storm if you have a policy.

"There are unfortunately a lot of people who are uninsured, particular people who rent a home. It's an option but it's very important because if you do have storm damage, fire, or theft, and you don't have renter's coverage, then there's no protection. You're out there on your own," saysKevin Shealy, agency owner with Allstate.

Shealy says to prepare now before you need to make a claim. He says the first step is reviewing your policy with your agent.

"Go over your deductibles. Go over your coverage. Make sure you know exactly what you are covered for. A lot of times people don't realize that flood insurance is not covered under a typical homeowner's policy," Shealy said.

Next take a home inventory by listing and taking pictures of all the items you own. If listing all those items seems like a large task, there's a free app for that. For example Allstate offers an iPhone program that lets you take pictures of your items and store the value and information right on the phone.

Shealy says keeping your items well documented before you need to call in a claim will help the process go more smoothly.

"They probably cannot name every single item that happens to be in the room where they're watching television right now. It's a good idea to have that written down. Have those pictures, and have it stored in a safe place where they can get to it in case there's a catastrophe," Shealy said.

If the storm has passed and already left damage to your home, Shealy says to photograph the damage, secure it to prevent further damage, and call your agent to make a claim.

If you are in a flood area, flood insurance is not covered under homeowner's policies, and you must buy it separately from the federal government. It also takes 30 days to go into effect, so if it is a concern for the upcoming hurricane season, you may want to look into purchasing a policy now.

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