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Protect Your Property from Hurricanes, Flooding

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GOLDSBORO — If Hurricane Dennis comes this way, what can you do to protect your property? Insurance agents say you should talk to your agent before the storm hits.

William Smith remembers what it was like to see his Goldsboro home swamped with water afterHurricane Fran. It took thousands of dollars and months of hard work to repair it.

"It was 12 inches of water inside the house," said Smith.

Smith did not have flood insurance because before Fran, his neighborhood had not flooded in years.

Insurance agent Ann Bishop says now is the time to touch base with your agent. If you need it, you can buy it, but you may have to wait for coverage.

"There is a 30-day waiting period on flood policies, so if you purchased it now, it would not cover you in this storm," said Bishop.

You do not have to wait to take a quick inventory of everything in your home. Bishop says take pictures or videotape everything and put the pictures somewhere else.

Renters should get property insurance, which is usually pretty inexpensive.

Finally, secure any outdoor objects that could blow away, even inland, where hurricanes can spawn tornadoes.

Hurricanes also mean a storm of paperwork for insurance agents. Nearly a half million claims were filed in the wake of Fran and Bertha, and 37,000 were filed afterHurricane Bonnie.

Over the past 50 years, Hurricane Fran was responsible for more than half of North Carolina's total hurricane damage.