NEWS | Sept. 19, 2018

National Preparedness Month: Checking your insurance (week 3)

Joint Base Charleston Emergency Management Training Section

National Preparedness Month, recognized each September, provides an opportunity to remind us that we all must prepare ourselves and our families now and throughout the year. This year, we will focus on planning, with an overarching theme: Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How. 


Check your insurance:

Insurance is the first line of defense when dealing with a natural disaster. You want to make sure you are prepared by ensuring your personal items are protected. One small step you can take to prepare is to document your property. What is meant by this is to take pictures or videos of all of your belongings. Pictures can be useful is the worst happens. However, you will also want to write down descriptions of your belongings -- especially valuables -- including including the year, make, and model to guarantee you get an accurate reimbursement. Your most expensive items -- such as appliances, furniture, and jewelry -- should be appraised to establish the items' worth. Most people tend to forget about securing items such as birth certificates, college degrees, tax info, medical info, and family photos. If you follow this step you’ll be thankful later.

Now that you have done all you can to physically prepare, be sure to check what your insurance policy covers. The normal homeowners insurance generally covers your dwelling, garages, decks, fences and personal property. Homeowners insurance also covers loss-of-use, which is when your home is uninhabitable and you must relocate.

Personal liability covers accidents occurring on your property. If you do not own a home, and you live in a condo or apartment, then experts recommend getting renter's insurance, which is essentially homeowners insuranc that adds protection if you break something that isn’t yours in the home. Another type of insurance is business insurance, commonly referred to as commercial insurance. If you own a business, you’re going to want to have this. The type of business, size, and location will be the main factors in determining your policy.

Now that we have gone over the importance of insurance and the different types out there, let’s look at some of the things they do not cover. Since floods are a massive risk in the Lowcountry, it is important to know homeowners insurance does not cover flooding from natural disasters. The National Flood Insurance Program has made it possible for everyone that needs flood insurance to acquire it. However, some insurance policies may cover damage to the property and the cleanup costs. For more flood insurance info, visit https://www.floodsmart.gov/

Another big risk is earthquakes. Imagine going home after an earthquake and seeing all of your personal items destroyed. Does your homeowners/renters insurance cover earthquake damage? It is important to find out if items broken during an earthquake are covered by your policy. Something you may not know is that Summerville actually sits on a fault line, making it an earthquake hotspot. Charleston's last devastating earthquate was in 1886. Experts believe that we are overdue for another significant earthquake event. Knowing this, earthquake coverage begins to sound pretty good, doesn't it? For more information on earthquake coverage, visit https://www.ready.gov/earthquakes

Now that you know all these facts about insurance, check your policy and ensure you have the correct coverage for your location!