Hurricane and Storm Preparedness
Aug 28, 2015
Live Storm Updates from Hilton Head
Hurricanes are a fact of life and while we like to think the greater Hilton Head and Bluffton Area often avoids the direct impact of hurricanes, Hurricane Matthew that struck in October 2016 taught us just how important it is to be safe and prepared during the hurricane season. Below are tips, advice and a vast number of resources for you, your family and friends.
You, Your Family and Pets
- Familiarize yourself with tropical storms and hurricanes by browsing the various resources from the State of SC, Beaufort and Ridgeland Counties, the Towns of Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, Hardeeville and Ridgeland, your communities and plantations and from other sources like the National Hurricane Center, Floodsmart.gov and the American Red Cross. Jump to Resources
- Make a Plan and get on the same page with your family and friends. Make sure you have all the phone numbers you need and share your plans with people not in the area.
- Think about where you would evacuate. Do a little research on areas, hotels and resources available to you (far enough to the West, out of harm’s way). Be sure to plan ahead if you have pets. Vacancies fill up fast in pet-friendly hotels.
- Make an emergency kit if you haven’t done so already. Some great items to include are non-perishable snacks, bottled water, important documents, and any medications your family may need over the course of a few days. Don’t forget to include pet food for your furry friends!
- Be sure you have flashlights and candles in case power is lost. Prepare a cooler with a few bags of Chewy Ice to keep perishable foods cold in the event of an outage.
- Fill up your vehicle’s gas tank. During emergency situations, the lines at the pump can get very long. We suggest not waiting until the very last minute so this can be done as efficiently as possible.
Your Home and Valuables
- Be prepared to tighten down the hatches. Do you have all of your storm shutters or window protection ready to go? Having plastic bags on hand is great to store valuables up off the first floor. Be sure tree limbs and bushes are trimmed and cleaned up. And be sure to remove outdoor objects that could be picked up by the wind.
- Take pictures of your home and valuables and create a Home Inventory. A home inventory will help ensure that you have purchased enough insurance to replace your personal possessions. It can also speed the claims process and substantiate losses for income tax purposes. A detailed home inventory is also helpful should you need to apply for disaster aid.
- To make creating a home inventory easier, check out KnowYourStuff.org. Know Your Stuff allows you to organize easily and list your possessions, as well as add digital photographs of your valuables and upload scanned receipts. The program provides free, secure storage of your inventory on Amazon Web Services. Storing your inventory online gives you the ability to access it from any computer in the event your own computer is damaged or destroyed.
Call Your Insurance Agent
- Find Out if you have “enough of the right kind of insurance.”
- Ask about flood insurance. Flood damage is not covered under standard home insurance policies. Insurance is available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and can be purchased from the same agent or broker who provided your home or renters insurance. Additional information on flood insurance can be found at www.floodsmart.gov. Excess flood insurance is also available from some private insurance companies if you need more coverage than the $250,000 for property and $100,000 on contents that the NFIP provides.
- Look into getting a guaranteed or extended replacement policy for the structure of your home. Extended replacement cost coverage pays a certain amount above the policy limit to replace a damaged home—generally 20 to 25 percent. A guaranteed replacement cost policy pays to rebuild your home regardless of cost. Both policies are designed to protect you in the event that after a major disaster the high demand for building contractors and materials pushes up the normal cost of reconstruction.
- Ask about replacement cost coverage for your belongings. When insuring your possessions, you have two coverage choices. One is actual cash value, which replaces your possessions less depreciation. The other is replacement cost coverage, which replaces your property in today’s dollars—without a deduction for depreciation. It costs about 10 percent more, but provides more extensive coverage.
Links and Resources
If you are not in town, there are many homeowner and residential service providers that can be called upon to check your home and prepare it for the season. If you need the names of some good people and businesses, let us know and we would be happy to share some that our clients have used in the past.
We are here to Help…
If you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to contact us. We will help you get the answers you need. Call us at 843-785-8006 or send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.