Double-check insurance coverage, prepare your home now before Hurricane Ian arrives

Michael Perchick Image
Thursday, September 29, 2022
Now is time to prepare your home for Hurricane Ian
EMBED <>More Videos

"An inch of water in the home can cause up to $25,000 worth of damage," a representative for a home waterproofing company said.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida Wednesday, with expectations it will reach North Carolina and other states in the southeast later this week.

Here in the Triangle, property owners are preparing for the possibility of heavy rain and high winds.

"An inch of water in the home can cause up to $25,000 worth of damage," Tar Heel Basement Systems sales manager Nate Zook said.

He suggested people clear out drains and gutters, ensure sump pumps are functioning properly, tie down or remove outdoor furniture or debris, and check that downspouts release as far away from the building as possible.

"If they have crawl space vents that are very low to the grade of their soil, possibly putting something there to stop water intrusion from getting inside the crawl space pretty easily, that's a big tip for homeowners," Zook explained.

Placing sandbags in front of doors or towels at the bottom inside the building to prevent water from making its way in can help.

Wind is tougher to plan for, though double-checking sealant on windows is helpful.

"High winds can shift a home. I've seen it firsthand back in 2018. So we get the high winds, and homes can move. We've seen it where they've moved very, very little and it's caused structural damage inside the crawl space. So homeowners need to be aware if they hear some popping, cracking things like that, that's not normal," Zook explained.

Zook said the company has opened up inspector's calendars this weekend, and have called in staff from other branches in the state to respond to any issues here.

If your property does suffer damage, it's important to act and report it to your insurance company immediately.

"Any amount of water damage is bad. Even if it's a little tiny section, that stuff can spread. With water we know comes fungus and mold and things like that. If your A/C gets turned off because of the storm and you have high humidity in the house, the fungus and mold can spread more rapidly and cause more damage, so as soon you experience a power loss or you get water in the home, it needs to be addressed immediately. I would not wait around," Zook explained.

"If you don't report your claim immediately, there could be some further damage that happens that's not from a covered peril or cause of loss. So if that's the case, once there's some type of ambiguity with what caused the damage, you could end up having your claim denied," added Robert Wright Jr., Agency Owner and Agent at Carolina Wright Insurance Group.

Wright said people should take both photos and videos of their damage.

"We've had a few clients give us a call and want to double-check on their policy and see and what their coverages are to make sure they don't have any gaps and there aren't any exposures they're not aware of," said Wright, encouraging others to do the same before Ian reaches the state.