On the Atlantic coast, hurricane season begins in June and runs through November, with the worst storms occurring between August and October. The center of Hurricane Florence may have passed the Carolinas, but days of record-breaking rain have caused widespread flooding. Wilmington’s roads are all submerged, and there is no way into and out of the city as of yet.
So far in North Carolina, 17 people have been killed, and thousands of people have lost their homes. While there’s nothing you can do to prevent a hurricane from forming or hitting land, you can take action to protect your family and property. Here are helpful resources and tips from Rhine Law Firm, P.C..
When you know a hurricane is on the way, there are steps you can take to minimize the damage to your property and ensure your family’s safety. Such steps include storing important documents in a watertight container, having an evacuation route and plan, having three days’ worth of provisions for each family member and pet, and more. For a detailed list of hurricane preparedness measures, please see the following sites and cell phone apps:
Before a hurricane, your cell phone can be a true lifeline for survival. There are numerous weather apps you can download to stay apprised of current weather conditions, including:
There are also many cell phone apps that can help you locate necessary services, like gas stations and hotels, and summon emergency services. Here is a list of useful apps and sites to have on hand.
The extent to which you are able to recover your losses following a hurricane largely depends on the type of insurance coverage you have. Many homeowners mistakenly think that their homeowners policy will cover all hurricane-related losses. Unfortunately, this is not always true. For instance, most homeowners policies cover damage from wind and rain, but not from flooding. So, if wind blows your roof off, allowing rain to get in and damage your belongings, the damage would be covered by your policy. However, if the hurricane caused flooding, and the flooding damaged your belongings, those losses would NOT be covered. You can purchase flood insurance in addition to your homeowners policy from the National Flood Insurance Program.
Because all insurance policies are different, it’s important to review all aspects of your policy with your insurance agent. It’s also important that you continually update your policy to ensure that you have enough coverage to cover your property and possessions. Please see the following important resources about hurricane insurance coverage in North Carolina:
Hopefully, your property will not suffer any significant damage this hurricane season. But, in the unfortunate event that you have to do significant repairs or rebuilding, the following Wilmington-area contractors, engineers, and cleaners should be available:
Blue Chip Builders LTD
Constructive Building Solutions
After a hurricane passes, destruction is left in the wake. The authorities say that “recovery will be gradual, at best: Hundreds of thousands of people do not have electricity, and tens of thousands of homes are believed damaged.” (The New York Times)
The following are the most prominent Wilmington homeowners insurance companies and how to contact them to file a claim:
Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t always make good on their commitment to provide the coverage you paid for after an event like a hurricane. They may offer you less than your claim is worth, deny your claim, or delay payment of your claim. Don’t let this happen to you. An experienced North Carolina natural disaster assistance lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve.
When should I report my claim to the insurance company?
As soon as possible. After a hurricane, your insurance company will be flooded with claims. They tend to operate on a “first come, first served” basis. Keep your claim number and continually check on its progress, but try to be patient – everyone is being affected right now.
What proof should I have for my claim?
Photos of the damage, including individual items. Make a list of everything damaged, and keep track of all your hurricane-related expenses and receipts (i.e., evacuation costs, food, fuel). If an adjuster comes to your house or calls you, make sure he or she is really from your insurance company and not a scammer taking advantage of people in this disaster.
What if I don’t have flood insurance?
We recommend that you file a claim anyway. Some homeowners policies will cover water and wind damage; and damage to your car may be covered under your comprehensive auto insurance policy. If you don’t have any insurance, please register for federal disaster relief at DisasterAssistance.gov.
Hurricane preparation isn’t limited to physical tasks; you also need to ensure that you’ll be able to fully recover for your losses. This includes documenting what possessions you have and what condition they are in. It’s recommended that you take pictures or video of your valued possessions, vehicle, and the condition of your property. Check out this useful cell phone app which helps you document your possessions:
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