Homeowners Insurance Policy: Is yours up to par?

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Hard to believe, but Hurricane Season 2011 starts June 1st and for many that means preps start now.

But it's not all about the supplies you add to your hurricane kit, you need to double check your homeowner's insurance policy to make sure you have enough coverage - just in case a storm hits the Carolina coast.

Piles of bricks, twisted metal and exposed beams. A life's worth of work,  gone in seconds. As we've all watched the destruction left behind across the south, it's hard not to wonder if and when that could happen in the Carolinas.

You never know when it's going to happen to us. We're not immune to anything, by any means," says Myrtle Beach resident, Dennis Reynolds.

That's why it's so important for us all to make sure our policies are not only up to date, but up to par.

"A homeowner's policy just doesn't cover everything it's not a blanket, it's not going to cover everything that could possible happen," says Allstate Insurance agent Maurice Stephens.

Homeowner's insurance can be tricky and depending on which company and policy you choose, the unknowing consumer can be left out to dry.

"Flood insurance typically excluded from a homeowner's policy and there tend to be some confusion about a hurricane bringing in so much rain in and it coming in the window and that being considered a flood, it's not," says Stephens.

  • Maurice Stephens says the most crucial question you can ask your agent is: "What will my deductible be in case of hurricane damage?"
  • Another tip-- know that it will take 15 days once you purchase a policy to see it in action.
  • Realize that many companies stop writing new policies once a hurricane watch and warning are put into place.

Now, having the proper coverage is only half the battle, a hurricane ready home is another big piece. We have some good news for you, there is a program called the SC Safe Home that can help you foot the bill. It's providing more than 1500 grants of up to $5,000 to homeowners like you in coastal communities, making your  home less vulnerable to hurricanes. In Horry and Georgetown counties, more than 782 homeowners have already received grants since 2007.

For more on how you can apply for the program, go to: http://scsafehome.sc.gov/Pages/default.aspx

There's is another program you should know about. One important step you should include when planning for the upcoming storm season should be the preparation of a home inventory. It is important to be aware and document your important possessions.

A home inventory helps consumers determine what they need to protect and is a way to keep their policies up to date," said David Black, Director of Insurance. Whether it's gourmet cooking items, designer handbags or high-end electronics, our personal items can have a profound impact on our insurance needs.

New tools that can help:

  • Printer friendly list of Ten Steps to complete A Home Inventory
  • A downloadable home inventory checklist http://www.insureuonline.org/home_inventory_checklist.pdf
  • A new, free iPhone® application, myHOME Scr.APP.book, that lets users quickly photograph and capture images, descriptions, bar codes and serial numbers of their possessions by room, and then store the information electronically for safekeeping.

 The free app lets users quickly photograph and capture images, descriptions, bar codesmyHOME Scr.APP.book and serial numbers, and stores them electronically for safekeeping.

  • The app organizes information room by room and creates a back-up file for e-mail sharing.
  • To download the free app go to the iTunes® App Store now, or search "NAIC" in the app store from your iPhone.

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