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We’ve been fortunate thus far, but we must be prepared

While other parts of the nation have been hard-struck by violent storms, Screven County has remained quite safe from the serious storms of the spring and early summer.
However, with the escalating temperatures serious weather can erupt quickly as the earth attempts to cool itself.
Those sudden storms can and have brought strong winds, thunder and lightning along with some much desired raindrops.
The potential for hazardous conditions needs to be all homeowners minds. Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens has repeatedly reminded homeowners of some important insurance tips to protect their property from tornadoes, flooding and other weather-related hazards.
Now the Sylvania Telephone would like to reiterate those sentiments again
Hudgens offers these reminders and tips –
* Make a list of all valuables, furniture, electronics, etc., and photograph or videotape your possessions. Keep copies of the list, photographs and videotape in a safe place outside your home. If your home is damaged or destroyed in a natural disaster, it may be difficult for you to tell your insurance agent what you lost without proof.
* Keep your insurance policy numbers and your agent’s phone number in a safe place as well.
* If disaster strikes, contact your agent or insurance company immediately.
* While a standard homeowner’s insurance policy covers damage from high winds and tornadoes, it does not cover damage from flooding. A separate policy must be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program, and can only be purchased if your community participates in the national program. However, a standard mobile home policy can cover damage caused by floods. Check your policy.
* Protect your property from further damage. For example, if your roof is damaged, cover it with a tarp to prevent water damage from subsequent rain. Most policies will not cover such damage.
* Make sure you understand the difference between actual cash value and replacement cost coverage for your contents, and obtain the coverage that best suits your needs. With actual cash value, you will receive the current value of an item when you file a claim. In other words, you’ll get only “used” prices for your furniture, TV, etc. With replacement cost coverage, your claim amount will be enough to purchase new items.
* Georgians should keep an inventory of their belongings in case of a disaster. For iPhone users this task can now be handled through an App called Scr.APP.bk provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. This App will allow iPhone users to take pictures of their items, scan barcodes, add purchase price and date, and even provides great tips regarding disaster preparation and insurance.
* By going to the Department of Insurance web site of www.oci.ga.gov and following the simple instructions on how to download the application, Georgians will have a catalog of their belongings. Also on the web site, iPhone users can watch a demo video.
If you have questions about property insurance, you can call a representative of Hudgens’ Consumer Services Division at 404-656-2070 or toll-free at 1-800-656-2298. Calls are taken from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. You may also visit the Commisssioner’s web site at www.oci.ga.gov for more information.
Screven Countians, we have been fortunate compared to our neighboring state of Alabama and our fellow Americans to the North. We, however, must be ready for weather changes. Please adhere to Hudgens’ tips.