A tree struck your house.
Your car is flooded.
You don’t even know where to begin.
Head to the Catastrophe Claims Center, available Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Bluffton’s Home Depot at 20 Gateway Village Road.
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The following agencies and companies will be available to answer questions:
▪ South Carolina Department of Insurance
▪ South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce
▪ Federal Emergency Management Assistance and National Flood Insurance Program
▪ Auto-Owners Insurance
▪ Coastal Select Insurance and GeoVera Specialty Insurance Co.
▪ Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of South Carolina
▪ National Fire & Marine Insurance Co.
▪ Nationwide Mutual Insurance
▪ Rockingham Casualty Co.
▪ Safe Harbor Insurance Co.
▪ South Carolina Farm Bureau
▪ South Carolina Insurance Association
▪ South Carolina Wind and Hail Underwriting Association
▪ Spinnaker Insurance Co.
▪ State Farm
▪ St. Johns Insurance Co.
▪ The Hartford
▪ Universal North America
Are you north of the Broad?
You can talk to a S.C. Department of Insurance representative Thursday from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the Technical College of the Lowcountry, 921 Ribaut Road, Building 12. Insurance company representives will not be at this meeting.
If Matthew damaged your home and you need to file a flood insurance claim, the National Flood Insurance Program offers these tips:
1. Notify your insurer to start the claims process. You should have this information handy:
▪ The name of your insurance company
▪ Your policy number
▪ A telephone and/or email address where you can be reached at all times
An adjuster should call you within a few days. If not, call again.
2. Document the damage.
▪ Separate damaged items from undamaged items. Local officials may require the disposal of damaged items, so if you dispose of these things, keep at least a swatch or sample for the adjuster.
▪ Take photos of all damaged property. This includes structural damage, standing water levels and items beyond salvageable.
▪ Make a list of damaged or lost items and include their age, value, and receipts, if possible. An adjustor will work with you to calculate the value of the damage and prepare a repair estimate.
3. Complete a Proof of Loss to support your claim.
▪ Proof of Loss: statement of amount you are claiming and documentation that supports it
▪ Filing this document is required before the National Flood Insurance Program or insurance company can reimburse you.
▪ Your adjuster should help you file the claim, which must be completed within 60 days of the storm.
There’s little property owners can do to expedite their specific claim.
Insurance companies prioritize size of losses differently, said Scott Creamer, general manager for the South Carolina branch of Belfor, a property restoration company.
If a tree splits your home down the middle, document the damage, but then do whatever you can to prevent further damage, Creamer said.
“It’s like leaving the car open during a rainstorm,” he said. “Roll it up.”
Lastly, if you have a large loss — one that will keep you from living in your home for several months — know your policy limits on additional living expenses.
Kelly Meyerhofer: 843-706-8136, @KellyMeyerhofer