CEMA Hurricane Preparedness focusing on insurance check-up

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Changes to floodplain maps for our coastal area for the first time in about 10 years might change how you think about insuring your property.

Part of Flood Preparedness week here in Chatham County is checking in with your insurance agent to make sure your policy is up to speed and enough to cover you in the event we see another major storm in our area this year.

Looking at updating home and flood insurance policies is something you definitely want to do now because any changes you make typically take about a month to kick in.

Hurricane season technically begins in less than a month, so with that, CEMA is highlighting several key topics this week, from updating insurance to developing an evacuation plan.

"First of all, they need to know where they're going, that's first and foremost. They need to have a plan of where they intend to go. The second thing is they need to know how they're going to get there," said CEMA Director, Dennis Jones.

Evacuation zones changed after Hurricane Matthew and were in effect during Irma. Jones said reviewing those maps, and ones that show the old and new flood zones for FEMA, are crucial steps to make sure your family and property will be safe this hurricane season.

"You can take a look at the FIRM maps that are available to you now. You can contact your government's floodplain manager, Chatham County, city of Savannah, all the municipalities have a floodplain manager. You can find out which zone you're in," Jones said. "That will determine significantly what your insurance rates are going to be when it comes to flood protection. Flood protection is different than your regular homeowner's protection, but you need to look at both. For your homeowner's protection, you need to take a look at what your hurricane deductible is."

Jones added it's crucial for people to not rely solely on past experiences with tropical storms and hurricanes that have hit our area, adding that every storm and the emergency response is different is some way.

"It only takes one event, and every event is different, and as long as we can keep pushing the message out and reaching as many people as we can, it comes down to the individual to be prepared."

Click here for the county evacuation map and here for FEMA's floodplain maps for Chatham County.

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