Even though you can’t necessarily escape the wrath of a hurricane, you can certainly prepare for the worst. Here are some of the best ways to prepare for the hurricane season.
Create A Home Inventory
Most people do not have a record of the property they own, and hurricane survivors say that’s a big mistake. If you need to file a claim for damages or loss, you may not realize what’s affected or gone until much later. Without this information it can also be difficult to substantiate a claim.
The Insurance Information Institute offers detailed information on the process of creating a home inventory. We highly recommend you use a free app as it simplifies the process and allows you to store photos and receipts.
Review Your Insurance Coverage
It is very important to review your insurance to confirm you have adequate coverage. Flooding is not covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy, but your independent insurance agent can source a flood insurance policy for you through the National Flood Insurance Program. They also offer additional coverage through private insurers if an NFIP isn’t enough.
Don’t wait until you hear a hurricane’s approaching, since flood insurance through the NFIP has a 30-day waiting period.
Check The Roof
The roof of your home takes the brunt of hurricane winds and rain. If it’s in disrepair, you risk your home, possessions, and your safety.
A reputable roofing contractor can inspect your roof, do minor repairs, and ensure the roof’s properly fastened to the structure. If it isn’t, they may recommend tie-down straps, or other measures.
They’ll also check the seals and security of any turbines, vents, soffits, and stacks. Cleaning gutters and downspouts is usually included in their service too.
Seal Holes & Protect Windows & Doors
Check the caulking around windows and doors and inspect the exterior of your home for electrical, cable, or internet holes drilled. Seal or repair as necessary.
Taping windows does not offer adequate protection. Either buy storm shutters or cover windows and doors with plywood. The National Hurricane Center provides detailed instructions on how to do this properly.
Reinforce doors with barrel bolts into the floor and header and don’t forget to brace the garage door too.
Secure Additional Structures
If your home has a porch, carport, or shed, anchor it to the ground with metal anchors, and preferably to a concrete slab. Protect air conditioners and condensers with tarps or plywood secured with hurricane straps.
Clear the Yard
Flying debris can cause substantial damage and injuries. Clear any dead branches from your yard and trees, and store any loose items such as lawn furniture, garbage cans, and your barbecue in the garage or basement.
Move Items to Higher Ground
At the very least, double bag important documents and warm clothes, seal with packing tape, and store the bag in an area above flood level. Also move household chemicals to minimize the risk of fire, explosion, or contamination.
Don’t forget your emergency food supply, water, first aid kit, flashlights, batteries, and radio. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, stockpile plenty of firewood too. Move everyone to higher ground and don’t leave your home unless emergency personnel direct you to do so. If they tell you to leave – go!
Protect Areas Below Flood Level
You can’t stop flood water, but you can minimize damage. Check the grade around your home and trench around the foundation if you know a storm is coming. You may want to install a sump pump with a backup generator and sandbag any openings too.
If you do experience a loss after a hurricane, take photos and understand the recovery process may be lengthy since so many people file claims.