7 things you can do to prepare your home before June 1st
2017 was a devastating year in terms of hurricanes. Major storms like Harvey, Irma, and Maria left paths of destruction in Texas, Florida, and throughout the Caribbean. Thankfully, we’re out of hurricane season right now, but June 1st will be here before you know it. Some weather experts are predicting that “2018 will be a busier-than-normal” season. Now is the time to start getting ready for the upcoming season. It’s especially important to prepare your home.
We’ve compiled a list of 7 things you can do today so you’re not scrambling once the Weather Channels starts issuing storm warnings.
1. Review your insurance policies
As so many found out last year, a good homeowner’s policy is essential if you ever hope to recoup losses from damage caused by a hurricane. It’s important to look at your policy now to ensure you have adequate coverage to pay for structural repairs or replace lost items such as furniture, appliances, electronics, and computers. If you bought your policy several years ago, you’ll want to make sure the amount of coverage reflects changes in the value of your home and the increased cost of repairs.
Ensure you also have adequate flood insurance. As people in Houston and some parts of Florida learned last year, not all damage from a hurricane is caused by high winds. Water can represent an even bigger threat, in some cases. Most standard homeowner’s policies do not cover flood damage so you might need to buy a separate policy or add a rider.
2. Inventory your belongings
If you sustain damage and need to make a claim, you’ll need to present a list of lost items to your insurance provider. That means you have to know exactly what’s in your house. Survey your home and make note of what you own. You can create a spreadsheet and there are also apps you can buy to make an inventory.
3. Inspect your roof
Roofs are one of the areas that can sustain the most damage during a storm. “Inspect your roof covering to make sure all the shingles or tiles are secured and that none are cracked or missing. If you’re re-roofing, consider spending about $500 extra to seal the roof deck. This usually involves either putting waterproof tape over the roof’s seams or covering the whole thing in a membrane that seals water out,” according to CBS News.
Make sure proper reinforcements are in place to keep your roof in place. If part, or all, of the roof, comes off in a storm, the damage can be catastrophic. In some states (like Florida), builders are required to use metal straps to anchor the roof to the walls. It’s standard for newer homes, but older houses might not have this kind of added protection. If your roof is not strapped down, seriously consider doing so now.
4. Check seals around doors and windows and consider buying hurricane shutters or hurricane-proof windows
Windows and doors are another vulnerable areas of your home. Check seals so that rain can’t get in. It’s also a good idea to invest in quality hurricane shutters or hurricane impact windows. There are several options and price ranges when it comes to hurricane shutters, from removable aluminum panels to built-in accordion shutters. If you want to avoid the hassle of putting up shutters altogether, consider replacing your old windows with impact-resistant, hurricane-proof glass.
5. Reinforce garage doors
While garage doors may seem sturdy, high winds can blow them in. “You can strengthen your existing garage door by installing a vertical garage door brace and reinforcing it with horizontal wooden beams,” according to CBS News.
6. Cut back tree limbs and shrubs and get rid of yard debris or cuttings
Much of the damage to property during a hurricane is due to falling trees or other loose debris in the yard. Older trees that are in danger of falling over should be removed and branches cut back. “Cutting low-hanging branches, unstable bushes or trees can prevent larger and more expensive accidents from happening. Proper tree pruning also increases the chances that your trees make it through the storm,” according to USA Today.
7. Don’t forget your cars, boats, and other vehicles
Hurricanes can cause damage to more than just your home. Flooding can bury a car in several feet of water or a tree branch could land on its roof. Boats are especially vulnerable if you don’t have a secure place to store them during a storm. Check your policies and make sure you have adequate auto and boat insurance in case anything happens and you need to repair or replace anything.
If you do cut back limbs or shrubs, make sure to arrange for a debris pickup well before hurricane season. The time to start cutting back is now, not once a hurricane watch is issued, as it’s likely there won’t be enough time to collect everything before the storm hits.
The 2018 hurricane season will be here before you know it. Prepare your home now so you don’t get blown away come June 1st.
To review your insurance needs before the season hits or to get a free quote, contact Avante Insurance today.