Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane season begins June 1, are you ready?
The upcoming storm season begins Friday, June 1 and runs through the month of November. South Carolina has been hit hard the past several years, first with the flood of 2015 and then experienced hurricanes, including last year’s Hurricane Irma. We need to plan and prepare now so that our homes and families are protected against whatever Mother Nature sends our way.


                                    How to prepare for hurricane season                                  

  • Make an emergency plan and discuss the plan with your family.  Engage your family in making a plan, so that everyone knows what to do and when to do it. 
  • Know Your Evacuation Zone- Know Your Zone is a public education campaign to inform the citizens and visitors of South Carolina of the hurricane evacuation zones and their vulnerability to storm surge. Please visit scemd.org/KnowYourZone to learn more.
  • Prepare an emergency kit. Make sure you have nonperishable food, water and a first aid kit handy. It is best to also collect important documents and keep them in one place for easy access in the event of an evacuation.
  • Review your insurance policy. As you make your preparations, review your insurance policy as it is important to know what your policy covers and what it excludes long before a severe weather event occurs.  Review your policy with your agent to understand the coverage and exclusions. 
  • Prepare your home and property.  Develop a room-by-room inventory of your home.  Take pictures, write down items in each room.  A home inventory checklist in available on our website here.

                                         Why is it important to have flood insurance?                           

        • Water that enters the home from street flooding, an overflow of a creek, river or stream or storm surges are generally covered  by flood insurance - not a homeowners or renters policy. 
        • Coverage is available for homeowners and renters. 
        • Flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  To learn more about flood insurance, ask you agent and visit www.Floodsmart.gov
        • Regardless of whether your property is considered to be in a flood zone or not, it is a very good idea to consider purchasing a flood insurance policy.  The 1000 year flood event of 2015 is testament to the fact that floods can occur at any time, not only associated with hurricanes and wind events.  As we witnessed from this event, many areas that have never flooded did during that event.

                                                         How to spot a scam                                                 

         

        Unfortunately, often there are individuals that may try to take advantage of people as they are working to recover.  While it is important to always safeguard your personal information, it is especially important following a natural disaster.

        • As you work to recover and repair your property you will likely be sharing your personal information with government officials, financial institutions, insurance personnel such as adjusters as well as contractors and repairmen.  You must stay alert and ask for identification of these individuals before providing your personal information.
        • Contact the company or organization the individual is representing and verify their identity.
        • Do not provide personal or financial information to someone until you have verified their identity.
        • Send your information securely. 
        • For home repairs, do not pay in full upfront for repairs and make sure you have a copy of a written contract before the work begins.

                                      A Catastrophe Savings Account might help you                     



        Catastrophe Savings Accounts 
        Prepare for out of pocket costs from a natural disaster using state income tax-free dollars.
        Establish a Catastrophe Savings Account (CSA) to help pay for your deductible and other out-of-pocket costs.  Similar to a health savings account, the money can be set aside state income tax-free and used in the future to pay for qualified catastrophe expenses that result from a hurricane, flood or windstorm event that has been declared an emergency by the Governor of South Carolina.  For more information, visit www.doi.sc.gov/CSA.



                                                                                                                                                                                                 


        Insurance Claims Information  



        Auto, Homeowners and Property Insurance:

        Flood Insurance:



        Contact Our Office of Consumer Services with Questions 

        The SCDOI's Office of Consumer Services can help answer your questions about home or other types of insurance.

        Email: consumers@doi.sc.gov │ Call: 803-737-6180 │ Toll-Free: 1-800-768-3467
        8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. (Mon. - Thurs.) and 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (Fri.)

        File an Insurance Complaint  

        If you're having a specific problem with an insurance company, broker, agent, or adjuster, file a complaint with our Office of Consumer Services at doi.sc.gov/complaint

        Report Suspected Insurance Fraud to the SC Attorney General's Office
        If you suspect someone has committed any type of insurance fraud, call the South Carolina Insurance Fraud Hotline toll-free at 1-888-95-FRAUD or complete the Insurance Fraud Complaint Form online. You don’t have to reveal your identity.  For more information about insurance fraud, go to scag.gov/insurance-fraud.

        Report Suspected Price Gouging to the SC Attorney General's Office
        The South Carolina Attorney General's Office is requesting all suspected instances of price gouging to be reported.  Please send the name and location of the establishment, the price they are charging, and any examples or documentation of the alleged price gouging.  

        Email: pricegouging@scag.gov │ Call: 803-737-3953 │ Tweet: @SCPriceGouging
        For More Information: SCAG Price Gouging Webpage or SCAG Media Release