Practical Tips to Prepare Before a Hurricane
1. Start running your ice makers early and bag the ice in freezer bags. Fill as much space in between your freezer items as you can.
2. Freeze regular tap water for pets, cleaning or drinking in tupperware-type containers. Leave a small bit of space between the top of the water and the lids so the ice expands but doesn’t crack the container.
3. Start using up your perishables to make more room for ice in the freezer
4. Fill up all vehicles with gas, check tires and oil
5. Get cash from the ATM – at least enough to get you through tolls and gas out of town
6. Take a picture of important documents and send to your email. Take originals in sealed bags or plastic bins.
7. Pet / livestock food and supplies. Pack vet records in case you need to shelter then at a storm-safe facility.
8. Share your evacuation plans with family members so they know where you’re headed
9. Consider putting heirlooms and photos in plastic bins in a high place, second floor, or safe room if you don’t plan on taking them with you
10. Secure all firearms and ammunition properly
11. Put old rags and beach towels on your windowsills. Even with the best windows and shutters, water seeping from the wind pressure happens. A few damp towels is better than soaked drywall or floors.
12. Shutter windows and doors and bring everything outside into your garage or house early. Do not wait until the day before. Better to get done early and relax than wait until its too late, especially if you are a first responder, hospital employee, etc.
13. Purchase hurricane supplies early If you don’t already have them
14. Fill tubs with water for flushing if you aren’t on city water. 15. Pack dry clothes in heavy duty plastic bags so if you leave you at least have something dry to change into.
16. Put water in 2 liter bottles, like empty soda bottles and freeze them. They take a long time to thaw and are good to keep in freezer or put in frig to keep it cold when the power goes out
*provided by Jeff Cook, Charleston Realtor and friend of CGR. Thanks for sharing, Jeff!
Insurance | Be in the Know by Chip Collins
Last year during Hurricane Matthew, our home suffered flood and wind/hail damage…which gave me my first experience with insurance losses/claims.
From that experience, I have just a few quick insurance-based tips in case you have to evacuate with the hopes that they may be useful:
1.Photograph and/or video your whole property, inside, outside, grounds, secondary structures, and all of your contents/belongings. I found that photos were easier to email to the adjuster than video, especially considering the adjusters may be working from iPads, laptops and smartphones from the field.
2. Print off your full insurance polices, and put them in a 3-ring binder, simply labeled by policy type (flood, homeowners, auto, etc). Put this in your car so you are sure it makes it with you.
3. The moment you become aware of damage to your home that warrants a claim, call in the claim asap. Getting in the cue early is likely to make a difference in how quickly you are serviced/contacted.
4. When you get home, photograph everything again to document the loss and damage. This includes anything you are throwing out: photograph it BEFORE it goes in the trash, or you’re likely to forget.
5. If you have extensive damage, go room by room and dictate/take notes about what you see, what items got damaged, etc. If contents are damaged and you’ll include them on your claim, try to make note of approximately when and where you bought them and how much they cost new. All of this will have to be scheduled on a claim form, so it’s good to start that data process sooner than later.
6. Once you have an adjuster, save their contact info in our phone(s), and approach them professionally with courtesy and thanks for their help because they are the pathway to your satisfactory claim. But also realize every adjuster is different. My two were about as different as you could imagine…but I committed to doing all I could to make their work on my behalf pleasant and productive.
7. Document your calls, emails, texts, and meetings on a simple timeline list, including notes of what was discussed, etc. Keeping a record is important because this kind of chaotic situation can be confusing.
8. Get your own estimates where/when possible. The national-data estimating tools adjusters use might not take into consideration what local contracting and material costs are. You are entitled to a fair claim, and usually the more info on the table the better.
9. This was surprising to me, but your flood policy won’t cover loss of use…so if you cannot occupy your home because of a flood loss, the cost of living someplace else is on you – not the insurance company.
10. Recoverable depreciation, ordinance and law, advance money, and so many other technical components of the insurance world can impact the cash flow of your claim…so do your best to read your policies word for word, then ask questions and seek assistance where you are uncertain. It’s a complex process to get through your claim, but certainly not impossible. The more diligent and focused you can be, the more certain you’ll be that you got a fair settlement.
I hope you won’t need these tips, but if you do, I’m glad to help answer any additional questions from my limited experience.
Town of Hilton Head Emergency Alert System sign up page
Town of Hilton Head Hurricane Update page
Town of Bluffton Website
Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka Facebook page – live Hurricane Updates
Smart Phone Apps
Facebook – don’t have a profile? You might consider getting one. Social media has become the most powerful source of help and information during a storm
Follow us on Facebook for more information as it comes
Live Press Release’s on the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Facebook page
My PD (My Police Department) Select your area, find your closest police department and get the latest updates from authorities
Nixle provides text alerts from local authorities/officials in your area. Just text your ZIP CODE to 888777, and you will begin receiving alerts on a regular basis.
**Do you have any other resources, websites or apps that might be helpful? Post/share them on our Facebook page