Hurricane Florence in SC: Do I really need $8,000 cash safety net?

Editor’s note: In a press conference Tuesday morning, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster lifted the mandatory evacuation for Beaufort, Jasper and Colleton counties. To read more, click here.

Hilton Head Island and Beaufort County residents learned in 2016 from Hurricane Matthew what you really need to know to survive a hurricane:


Get pictures of your damage immediately.

Make your call to the insurance company instantly.

A day or two lost in filing a claim can turn into months of waiting later.


You need an emergency stash of money. Lots of money.

If your house is hit or if there are trees down in the yard, think $8,000 for a safety net — to get you through the first month.

Insurance payments will start slowly, with a smaller amount. But prepare for a contractor who will ask for $5,000 up front to get started.

Remember, this is beyond the normal costs of food and lodging during an evacuation, loss of work during the evacuation, and possible loss of work afterward.

Don’t count on anything being seamless. We know people who still are working on insurance settlements — two years later.


Know what building contractors and tree service companies people recommend BEFORE the storm hits.

Prepare to be hit by fly-by-nights who do not deliver what they promise.


Have the equipment to charge your phone and hand-held computer devices through your car’s auxiliary power outlet. That also requires gas in the car. But you’ll still want a large stash of batteries.

Outdoor grills using propane gas will be a life-saver until utility power is restored. A generator for refrigeration is nice.


Yes, fill the tubs with water. Test it and have a fix for slow leaks. Have a bucket. This is what you use to flush the toilet. You’ll be glad it’s there.

That’s in addition to drinking water.