Understanding your insurance - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Understanding your insurance

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - When it comes to a hurricane, one of the most important things you can do to prepare is have insurance and understand your policy.

Archie Biggs of Murrells Inlet showed WMBF News pictures of what Hurricane Hugo did to his home.

"It floated it about six or eight feet until it hit a tree and set it down flat on the ground," Biggs said, noting the inside was worse. "There was mud and dead fish and it stank like the devil. It was just and awful experience to come down here."

Biggs had a basic homeowners insurance policy. It covered his contents, but after Hurricane Hugo, he also needed policies that covered wind, hail, and flodding. Thankfully, he did.

"You may need as many as seven or eight different types of policies depending on your personal situation," said Allison Dean Love, of the South Carolina News Service. "A lot of times, people don't think about their insurance untilf after disaster happens."

Biggs added, "Unfortunately, several people in my neighborhood at the time didn't have good insurance, so they ended up building back with their own money."

Here's what experts say you need to do now and first.

"The best thing you can do is have a good, up-to-date home inventory," Love explained. "That helps you decide how much insurance you need, and it really comes in handy in case you need to file an insurance claim."

You also need to understand your deductible and be prepared to pay it. Experts say most people who live along the Grand Strand will pay percentage deductible, which will be higher around the time of a hurricane.

And you need to make sure you have adequate coverage, especially if you've added a room.

"If you don't have the right money to cover it, what will you do?" Love asked.

And remember, you cannot buy insurance once a storm watch or warning has been posted; it takes 15 days to get wind and hail insurance into place.

Experts say renters also need to make sure they have contents insurance.

"Your landlord's insurance does not cover your personal items," Love said.

If you haven't done these things, you still have time.

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