Insurance agents: Protection from hurricanes begins months earlier

By Tom

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Many of us have seen the footage with homes underwater and wonder what will be left when those families return. Sure, you may have plenty of homeowners insurance, but will it cover rising water?

"Your homeowners policy is not going to cover rising water from a tropical storm or hurricane," said State Farm agent and mayor of the Town of Mount Pleasant Billy Swails.

As a homeowner or even a renter, it is advised to sit down with your insurance agent, sometimes once a year, to go over the coverage you have. It's also a good idea so that you can find out if you need to add or take away any coverage.{}

Swails says that depending on the policy, you could wind up with three different deductibles. That's very important to know depending how much you want to cover and how much you want to spend.

So, lets do a little math with the price of a home and the deductible. If you have a $200,000 house and a 2 percent deductible, that's $4,000 out of your pocket when it comes time to fix the damage.

To understand a little better, if you have $30,000 in damages on a $200,000 house, then you would get $26,000 for repairs.

With that being said, if you have a higher deductible, say 5 percent, you'll have a cheaper policy. But will that be a gamble for you?

The right policy is something you need to discuss with your agent. But don't wait too long. If our coast comes under a hurricane watch or tropical storm watch, all business will cease at that time. No more policies will be written.

Bottom line, be prepared in advance.

Swails says another great tip is to take photos of all your belongings and email them to a friend or yourself so that you can retrieve them at a later date.

"With most disasters, you will come out OK," said Swails, who has over 20 years experience. "Most insurance companies know you have been through a traumatic time and they will try and help you the best way they can."

You can help them by dusting off that policy and making sure it's up to date.