Insurance Companies Prepare for Hurricane Matthew Damage Claims

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Insurance Companies Prepare for South Carolina Property Damage Claims After Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew insurance claims in South Carolina

Hurricane Matthew is expected to make landfall along the eastern Florida coast Thursday morning, bringing with it Category 4 winds of up to 145 miles per hour, NBC News reported.

The storm track shows it heading up the East Coast and it will begin affecting South Carolina early Saturday morning and continuing throughout the day. An area of heavy rain has now formed to the north of Matthew, pivoting into parts of the South Carolina Lowcountry, eastern Georgia and northeast Florida. Governor Haley has ordered evacuation of all coastal areas.

According to the National Weather Service in Jacksonville, Florida, Friday morning, “Barrier islands are likely to be breached and it is extremely possible that new inlets will be cut off in the worst affected areas.” The NWS office in Charleston, South Carolina, said Friday tide levels at both Charleston, South Carolina, and Ft. Pulaski, Georgia, could approach or even surpass those seen during the October 2015 epic flood event.

Storm surge flooding has already occurred along the Florida Space Coast and is spreading north.

Tips to help you get familiar with your policy if Hurricane Matthew damages your property in South Carolina

Property insurance is likely the last thing on the minds of homeowners who’ve been ordered to evacuate the area, but it will be the first thing they’ll have to deal with once the storm has passed.

  1. Know your coverage. Unfortunately, it’s obviously too late to purchase insurance coverage if you don’t have any. If you do have a standard homeowner’s policy, it most likely will not cover flood damage. Be aware that even if you’re properly insured, you may have to contend with high deductibles. For instance, a homeowner’s policy that protects against hurricanes could require you to foot the bill for damages equivalent to 5 percent of the value of the home.
  2. Know your deductibles. Know which situations will trigger your policy’s high deductible for hurricanes. “Sometimes these higher deductibles can only be triggered by a named storm with winds that reach a certain mile per hour,” said Peter Kochenburger, executive director of the University of Connecticut’s Center for Insurance Law.
  3. Take inventory. Make a video or take photos in which you note the valuables in your home. Be sure to store your photographic proof on a thumb drive or in the cloud so that it is remotely accessible. Know whether your policy provides replacement cost coverage or cash value coverage on your possessions. Replacement cost will replace the item regardless of when you had originally bought it. Cash value coverage, however, will consider depreciation of value when replacing the item you’ve lost.
  4. File a claim. Document all of your communications with an insurer, and don’t be afraid to push back if you disagree with how they handle your claim. Hurricanes can lead to disagreements between homeowners and insurers, particularly when there’s a combination of flood and wind damage in the aftermath.

In short, South Carolinians are not out of the woods yet, and are urged to stay cautious and off the roads.

Insurance industry braces for onslaught of SC flood damage claims

Given the expected large-scale property damage from wind, rain, flooding and downed trees, many South Carolinians will be turning to their homeowner’s insurance policies to cover repairs and replacements.

The local insurance industry is bracing for an onslaught of property damage and flood claims in SC.

Unfortunately, many residents should prepare themselves for insurance claim denial – based on one technicality or another. But before giving up a fight with an insurance adjuster, remember that the law is on your side if your insurance policy has ambiguous language. If the flood or homeowner’s policy is drafted by the insurance carrier and contains text that is unclear, an experienced lawyer can likely resolve the claim in your favor.

Hurricane Matthew insurance claim denial

The Jeffcoat Firm is available to review your insurance claim and policy language to ensure fair reimbursement is made in the wake of weather-related damage. To schedule a free consultation today, please call (803) 200-2000.

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