Understanding your insurance policy

May 26, 2009 

Beaufort County has avoided a major hurricane for a long time, but homeowners still need to check their insurance policies each year. Here are some things to know:

• Homeowner policies usually have a waiting period between the time you apply for a policy and the date it goes into effect. National flood insurance has a waiting period of up to 30-days and the state wind pool has a 15-day waiting period. Also, insurers stop writing new policies when a hurricane approaches.

• Do a home inventory. It can be as simple as a list of things you own or as detailed as hiring a company to record everything. But that list, and copies of insurance policies, should be with you and sent to a friend or relative inland in case of a storm.

• Know that flood insurance and wind and hail insurance cover different things. Either force can destroy a home, so carry enough of each kind of policy.

• Understand your deductible, or what you have to pay before insurance kicks in. Some policies have a flat amount, others use a percentage of a home’s value or might use a combination depending on what causes the damage.

• Sit down with your insurance agent if you have any questions. Get answers before you need to file a claim.

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