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Family impacted by Hurricane Matthew shares insurance experience

Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 4:56 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s hurricane season. 74-mile-per hour wind can cause major damage to homes and property.

Part of being hurricane ready means having important documents in a safe place. Consider storing birth certificates, social security cards, and other documents in a waterproof container you can take with you. And review and even update insurance policies.

A local family who lost everything during Hurricane Matthew said they had to fight their insurance company to get what they were owed.

Making sure you have hurricane and or flood insurance is only part of being storm ready. We’re going to go inside the Williams’ home - that was totally gutted after Matthew - and talk about how the devil is in the details. “This is going to sound ridiculous, because you’re going to have to itemize everything in your house what’s destroyed. You need go through before the hurricane; take pictures of the whole room from both sides, and if you have any doors, drawers, open them up and take a picture that way.”

“We had a problem with not wanting to pay up for what we felt like they needed to. And they classified our kitchen cabinets as presswood; so, I had to go through old photographs to find one with the door open to show that it was wood grain and wood knots in the doors just to get them to upgrade the classification from presswood to hardwood.”

$400 allotment to $4,000 on the price of the remodel.

Anything that is serialized, like your TVs, stereos, etc. get pictures of their serial numbers, and if they’re destroyed, you can go back and say, “this is what I had.” They’ll pay you more that way. “Even like a toolbox. If you think about it, you probably couldn’t name everything that was in the toolbox, but if you can write it down, they’ll pay you for it if you lose it.”

“We learned the hard way. You think you know what you have in your house until you must sit down and list it on paper what you’ve lost. Because when you come back into your house and it’s gone, and you try to think what was on this wall...what was on that wall, or what was in this cabinet, you mind goes blank, you can’t think.”

Don’t procrastinate. Flood insurance policies usually impose a 30-day waiting period between the time you buy, and the time coverage takes effect. And insurers typically won’t adjust your coverage once a storm is forecast.

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