How Homeowners Can Prepare for Hurricane Season

Protecting your home and family during hurricane season is crucial for everyone’s safety. 

The greatest threat to life and property associated with a hurricane and tropical storm is storm surge. Other effects include high winds, tornadoes, and inland flooding associated with heavy rainfall that usually accompanies these storms. Homeowners should build a hurricane plan for safety purposes but you also need to review your homeowner’s insurance policy before a hurricane strikes. 

So, how do you prepare?

You can take steps to minimize the loss of life or property during a hurricane. Remember, if a hurricane occurs, emergency responders may not be able to reach you immediately. Be prepared to be self-sustaining for at least three days.

10 Tips to Prepare and protect your family and Home

1. Stay informed: Keep track of weather updates and pay attention to official announcements, warnings, and evacuation orders issued by local authorities. Stay updated through reliable sources such as the National Hurricane Center or local weather stations.

2. Create an emergency plan: Develop a comprehensive plan that outlines what to do before, during, and after a hurricane. Identify safe areas in your home and establish meeting points if family members get separated. Assign responsibilities to each family member, including pet care and emergency contacts.

3. Stock up on supplies: Assemble an emergency kit with essential items such as non-perishable food, drinking water, batteries, flashlights, a first aid kit, prescription medications, important documents, cash, and hygiene products. Aim to have enough supplies to sustain your family for at least three days.

4. Secure your home: Reinforce windows and doors with storm shutters or plywood boards. Clear your yard of loose objects that could become projectiles in high winds. Trim trees and shrubs to minimize potential damage. Consider installing hurricane straps or clips to reinforce your roof.
5. Back up data: Make digital copies of important documents such as insurance policies, identification papers, and financial records. Store them in a secure cloud-based storage system or on a portable hard drive.

6. Review insurance coverage: Ensure your home and property are adequately insured against hurricane-related damage. Review your insurance policy to understand what is covered and consider purchasing flood insurance if you reside in a flood-prone area.

7. Evacuation planning: If authorities issue an evacuation order, be prepared to leave your home. Plan evacuation routes and identify shelters or accommodations where you can stay temporarily. Have transportation arrangements in place and keep your gas tank filled.

8. Protect electrical systems: Safeguard your electrical equipment by unplugging them during a storm to avoid damage from power surges. Invest in surge protectors for sensitive appliances. Consider installing a generator for backup power, but ensure it’s installed and operated safely.

9. Stay connected: Keep a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio to stay informed about the latest updates in case of power outages. Charge your mobile devices and have portable chargers available. Inform family and friends of your plans and regularly check on their well-being.
10. Prepare for the aftermath: After the hurricane passes, exercise caution when returning home. Watch out for downed power lines, debris, or structural damage. Take photographs of any damages for insurance purposes and report utility outages or hazardous situations to the appropriate authorities.

Know Your Homeowner Insurance Policy

When preparing for hurricanes, financial readiness is as important as a flashlight with fully charged batteries. Leaving your home can be stressful, but knowing that your personal and financial documents are up to date, in one place, and portable can make a big difference at a tense time.

Homeowner’s insurance is a type of property insurance that provides financial protection to homeowners in the event of damage to their property or personal belongings. There are several aspects to consider regarding homeowner’s insurance. 

10 Tips to Prepare and protect your Family and Home

1. Coverage for wind damage: Homeowner’s insurance typically covers wind damage caused by hurricanes including damage to the home’s structure, such as the roof, walls, and windows. It may also cover other structures on the property, such as detached garages or sheds.
2. Separate deductible: Some insurance policies have a separate deductible specifically for hurricane-related damage. This deductible is often higher than the standard deductible for other types of claims. Review your policy to understand the specifics of your deductible.

3. Flood damage coverage: Standard homeowner insurance policies do not cover damage caused by flooding. Hurricanes often bring heavy rainfall and storm surges that can result in flooding. It’s crucial to have a separate flood insurance policy to protect against flood-related damage.

4. Additional living expenses: If your home becomes uninhabitable due to hurricane damage, homeowner’s insurance may cover additional living expenses. This coverage helps pay for temporary housing, food, and other essential expenses while your home is being repaired or rebuilt.

5. Personal property coverage: Homeowner’s insurance generally includes coverage for personal belongings, such as furniture, clothing, and electronics, in the event of hurricane damage. Review your policy to understand the coverage limits and any exclusions that may apply.

6. Policy exclusions: Homeowner’s insurance policies may have specific exclusions related to hurricanes or other natural disasters. For example, some policies may exclude coverage for certain types of damage, such as mold or water damage resulting from a storm. It’s important to carefully review your policy and discuss any concerns or questions with your insurance provider.

7. Mitigation measures: Taking proactive steps to protect your home from hurricanes, such as installing storm shutters or reinforcing the roof, may not only help minimize damage but could also lead to lower insurance premiums. Some insurance companies offer discounts for implementing hurricane mitigation measures, so it’s worth discussing these options with your insurer.

Remember, insurance policies and coverage can vary. Make sure to read your policy documents thoroughly and consult with your insurance provider to understand the specific terms, conditions, and coverage limits applicable to your homeowner’s insurance and hurricane damage.