If you live in Rhode Island, almost every year at least one or two storms make their way up the Atlantic coast. Many residents felt the impact of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and scientists also suggest we can expect more intense storms during hurricane season, because of rising ocean temperatures.
Consequently, it is more important than ever to prepare for these powerful storms. Follow these tips to protect your home and family.
Anyone who doesn’t keep a stock of emergency supplies is at increased risk. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend a fortune for an emergency kit.
Ready.gov provides detailed information regarding the essentials and additional emergency supplies you may want to consider. They also explain how to maintain your kit and where to store it.
You’ll want to store important legal and financial records in a flood-protected area such as a fire-proof vault, lock box, safe deposit box at the bank, or in the cloud.
Important documents after a hurricane include a current home inventory, your insurance policy, and contact numbers should you need to file a claim. A home inventory documents what you own to help the insurance company evaluate your loss.
Create a family disaster plan and practice it. You can use this FEMA template to develop an effective communication plan to coordinate your family’s efforts.
A disaster plan provides guidance during a stressful time, but it can also help you identify hazardous conditions beforehand so you can eliminate them.
Protect Your Home
Many simple precautions can limit storm damage. These include replacing loose landscaping materials such as rock or gravel with bark mulch or using more permanent materials such as concrete. Prune trees and shrubs and remove dead branches.
Install storm shutters or fit plywood panels to windows and glass doors when a storm approaches. Install three hinges and a dead bolt with a minimum inset of one-inch on all exterior doors. Replace an old garage door with a wind and pressure-rated model when you can afford it.
Seal around exterior vents, electrical outlets, and holes created for water pipes and cables with a urethane-based caulk.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
If you haven’t done an insurance review with your agent recently, it’s time to bring your policies up to speed. Your Rhode Island homeowners insurance policy should provide adequate coverage to repair or rebuild your home and replace your belongings.
However, your home’s value can increase and you may not understand the intricacies of your policy. For instance, does it pay for reasonable additional living expenses (ALE) if you’re unable to stay in your home?
Homeowners may not realize that their policy doesn’t cover flood damage either. If you live by the coast, you may also need additional protection against wind and wind-blown water damage.
Some policies also include a hurricane deductible. If you have any questions about your coverages, give us a call. We can provide you with advice, explain any gray areas, and ensure you’re properly protected if a hurricane does damage your home.