A Guide to Hurricane Prep

After the year we’ve had, no one wants to think about hurricane season. However, you can’t afford to put off taking the necessary steps to protect your home and family. Forecasters have already predicted a very active 2020 hurricane season, with 18 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes (Cat 3 or higher).

What can you do to make your home hurricane ready? We have nine steps to implement if a storm is approaching.

NOTE: Some of these steps should be taken well before a storm is approaching.

1. Review your homeowners’ policy

It’s important to review your homeowner’s policy before hurricane season begins. Make sure you have enough coverage to pay for the repairs if your home suffers major damage.

If you’ve done any remodeling/renovation or added a swimming pool or guesthouse that increases the value of your home, you may need additional coverage. Be sure to do an inventory of your belongings, too, as your homeowner’s policy also covers damage/loss of your property, from furniture and electronics to jewelry and clothes.

2. Determine if you live in an evacuation zone

If you live in a high-rise condominium or an area that is prone to flooding, you may be required to evacuate and go to a safer location. States like Florida produce disaster preparedness maps that include information on which counties or ZIP codes must evacuate.

If you do live in an evacuation zone, decide where you will go in the event of a hurricane. Perhaps you can stay with family or friends who live further inland. If that’s not possible, find a list of hurricane shelters.

If you have dogs or cats, you’ll need to have a plan for them, as well. Most shelters don’t allow pets, and the ones that do often require pre-registration.

3. Trim your trees

A lot of property damage is due to falling branches. If there are low hanging, dead or heavy branches near your home or driveway, cut them back now. Do this well before a storm approaches as most counties stop collecting debris after a Hurricane Warning/Watch has gone into effect

4. Reinforce garage doors

Garage doors are also vulnerable to winds and flying objects. If this happens, you may experience structural or water damage. You can add additional braces to the inside of garage doors to keep them in place during a storm. Again, this is something you won’t be able to do once a storm is approaching.

5. Protect windows and doors

Windows are particularly vulnerable to damage from flying objects. Doors can fly open if not secured properly. If either happens, your home will sustain water damage and possibly catastrophic structural damage.

You should buy hurricane shutters, whether the aluminum kind with individual panels or the ones you can unfold and lock. Your other option is installing hurricane-impact windows, which are designed to withstand high winds and the impact of flying objects. However, this needs to be done before hurricane season as they take time to order and install.

If you don’t have shutters or storm windows, your best bet is to put up wooden boards, which you can get from a hardware store.

6. Protect your roof

You’ve probably seen the videos of roofs being ripped off during a hurricane. Losing a roof will almost certainly lead to catastrophic damage. Some states, like Florida, have strict codes when it comes to roof construction and reinforcements.

The codes may differ from county to county, as well. Whatever the code in your state/county, it’s a good idea to install roof straps or additional roof clips, which will help secure the roof to the frame.

7. Secure outdoor furniture and other objects

Any outside objects are potential missiles. It’s important to bring all small objects inside. This includes potted plants, lawn decorations, patio furniture, bicycles, toys, sports equipment, tools, loose rain gutters, and anything else that could possibly become a projectile.

8. Buy a generator

It’s almost inevitable that a big storm will take out the power. Even a relatively harmless tropical storm could leave you in the dark for days. A backup generator is probably one of the smartest investments you can make. If you already have a generator, start her up before the storm to make sure it’s still working. Also, make sure you have enough gas on hand to last for several days up to a week.

9. Have a safe room

Designate one room in your house as the place you will go if the roof or windows get damaged. It should be an interior room with no windows, such as a bathroom or large closet.

Ensure you have enough homeowners’ coverage

Take steps now to protect your home so you can weather the upcoming hurricane season. Be sure you also contact a licensed insurance agent to ensure you have the coverage you need if the worst happens. These tips should help.

If you have questions about your insurance coverage or you’re interested in a quote, contact us today.

This blog and website are made available by the publisher for educational and informational purposes only. It is not to be used as a substitute for competent insurance, legal, or tax advice from a licensed professional in your state.