COLUMBIA, S.C. – August 24, 2011 – Hurricane Irene’s path is still not clear as it barrels toward the East Coast. Although forecasters suggest the storm will head north and east, South Carolina remains in the cone of uncertainty.
“Even if our state misses a direct hit, we could still experience damage from severe weather resulting from the outer bands of the storm,” said Russ Dubisky, executive director of the South Carolina Insurance News Service. In the event that you have damage to your home, car or business, here are some important things to remember:
1. Insurance companies are in place to help you recover from disasters. Even though modest hurricane losses would make this year among the most expensive for catastrophes in history (insured losses have already reached well over $15 billion this year), the insurance industry is still in position to have adequate claims paying capacity to help customers recover from damages.
2. It is important to start the claims process soon. Contact your insurance agent or company, or call the company’s claims hotline (see below). Some hints:
• If it is safe to do so, survey the damage so you can tell your insurance company about your losses. Take videos or photographs to document the damage if possible.
• Find your insurance policy and have your policy number handy when you are ready to make your claim.
• Provide your insurance agent with your home inventory if you have one.
• Leave a phone number where you can be reached if you are not at home.
3. Make any temporary repairs necessary to protect your home from further damage.
• Cover broken windows and damaged roofs if possible.
• Keep receipts for all materials used.
• Do not dispose of damaged personal property until an adjuster has had the opportunity to look at it.
The most serious losses will be given priority, but your insurance company will make sure that your needs are taken care of.
Phone numbers to make insurance claims:
Allstate Insurance: 1-800-54-STORM (1-800-547-8676)
Companion Property & Casualty Insurance: 1-800-845-2724, option 2
Grange Insurance: 1-800-445-3030
Progressive Insurance: 1-800-PROGRESSIVE (1-800-776-4737) or go to www.progressive.com
St. Johns Insurance Company: 1-877-748-2059
The Seibels Bruce Group/Universal Insurance Company: 1-800-288-8050
S.C. Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company: 1-800-799-7500
S.C. Wind and Hail Underwriting Association: 1-800-236-1873
Southern Mutual Church Insurance: 1-800-922-5332, fax 1-803-776-4260 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Southern Mutual Insurance Company: 1-800-226-1919
State Auto Insurance: 1-800-766-1853 or email@example.com
State Farm Insurance: 1-800-SF-CLAIM (1-800-732-5246) or contact agent
USAA: 1-800-531-USAA (8722)
Universal North America Insurance Company: 1-866-999-0898
These are the numbers for SCINS member companies, which make up more than 50 percent of the homeowners insurance market in South Carolina. Other companies’ numbers may be obtained from their web sites.
For 35 years, the South Carolina Insurance News Service, a nonprofit organization, has been providing free insurance information to consumers and the media about property and casualty insurance issues. The News Service is funded by insurance companies doing business in South Carolina.
For more information, contact the South Carolina Insurance News Service at 803-252-3455 or use our contact form.