Preparing for Hurricane Florence–Helpful information about flood insurance and beyond

Preparing for Hurricane Florence–Helpful information about flood insurance and beyond

As the Outer Banks prepares for the impact of Hurricane Florence, the Outer Banks Association of REALTORS® would like to remind residents of the importance of securing all home related documents, especially insurance policies.

While the staff and members of OBAR hope for the best, it is important to remember that preparation is important not just for the duration of the storm, but also for the aftermath of the event.  Power and communication outages, water and food shortages, and impassable roadways are possible up to a week or longer after a natural disaster.  OBAR encourages you to be prepared for all possibilities.

You can find detailed information and guidelines for hurricanes and flooding at www.ready.gov.  In addition, the association recommends residents immediately register to receive emergency alerts from Dare County Emergency Management at  https://www.darenc.com/departments/emergency-managementas the recently constructed and top-of-the-line Dare County Operations Center has been activated.  Alerts can be received via text, email, and phone and will detail current conditions, announcements, and re-entry information and timelines.

Due to the potential for flooding from the storm surge and subsequent heavy rain that Hurricane Florence presents at this time, OBAR would like to address the importance of becoming familiar with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as well as the flood insurance policy for your home.  It is best to familiarize yourself with your insurance company’s website, emergency claim number (usually toll-free), and location of the nearest office branch.  It is also highly important that you video or photograph the inside and outside of your home for possible insurance claim purposes.

In the unfortunate event that you do experience flood damage from this hurricane and need to file a claim, you can access FEMA’s Flood Claim Process at https://www.fema.gov/nfip-file-your-claim.   Additional information can be found at https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1531927663732-19649f6fd0e1df05980c9bf67582da11/The_Flood_Claim_Process2_508_v4.pdf.  FEMA also released a memorandum to clarify certain items and situations that were most commonly addressed during previous natural disasters.  You can access this memorandum at https://bsa.nfipstat.fema.gov/wyobull/2004/w-04020.pdf.

Finally, according to Phoenix Restoration, it is important to remember that “This is your property.  No one can tell you who can fix it, or what you may or may not do to it.  Get recommendations from your Agent, Adjuster, and Contractor, but retain the authority to make all decision[s].  If you question something (coverage, policy exclusions, cost etc.) request proof—ask to see where they are getting the information.  When in doubt—call FEMA and find out from the source.  Document everything!  Take pictures, inventory contents, and require any contactors to document all stages of work”.  The Outer Banks Association of REALTORS® advises you to visit the Outer Banks Home Builders Association at https://obhomebuilders.orgto find local members of the building trade.

Lori Brooks, owner and Broker-in-Charge of Coastal NC Realty, and 2018 President of the Outer Banks Association of REALTORS® says, “We are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.”  Says Brooks, “Our thoughts are with all residents of the Outer Banks.  The staff and members of the association will be available for information and help after this event.  Stay safe!”

Written by OBAR Communications and Outreach Director, Leah Holmes

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