Insurance agents advise to check policy ahead of storm

Published: Aug. 27, 2015 at 9:36 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 27, 2015 at 10:38 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Insurance agents have been working non-stop the past couple of day to ensure you get coverage to protect your home from storm damage.

With Tropical Storm Erika appearing to head our way many agents ask you to take a look at your policy to see if any changes need to be made.

One of the first things they say to do, get homeowners or renters insurance in the first place.

Agents advise not to tough it out, especially living in a coastal area like Charleston.

Secondly, check in to see what your insurance actually covers.

See if your policy covers any deductibles for damage by named storms or hurricanes.

Usually this requires you pay a higher deductible, which can be expressed as a fixed dollar amount (ie. $1,000) or, more commonly, as a percentage of the home's insured value, which can vary from 1% to as high as 10%.

This policy would cover things like physical damage to your home from wind and rain.

Agents say to pick a policy based upon your budget and what you would be able to pay by the month, or year.

One of the most important things to make note of, is flooding.

In most homeowner policies flood damage is not covered.

A separate kind of insurance needs to be purchased, either privately or from the National Flood Insurance Program.

In 2013 there were 204,910 flood insurance policies covered under the NFIP in South Carolina.

Many of the families who survived Hurricane Katrina were not covered with flooding insurance.

If you sign up in the next couple of days it takes about 30 days before it goes into effect.

Agents highly recommend you go through a checklist to ensure everything is in tact, before we could get hit with a big storm.

They say there will come a point where they will stop signing people up for coverage in the Charleston area if a quota is reached, or threat of a storm is too great.

Signing up for a policy will cease dependent upon each individual company. They track the weather from local stations as well as from the Emergency Management Division.

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