There is no way around it. Hurricane-like storms and severe weather put your property and safety at risk. Severe winds and extreme rainfall can combine to inflict damage on commercial and residential properties.
When in danger, we often recount how we could have prepared differently. Taking smart precautions that protect your family and property will subsequently alleviate any feelings of unpreparedness, leaving you alert and in control when it matters most.
Let's review a few preventative measures you can take today that will leave you feeling confident and safe the next time you face severe weather.
What we will cover:
- How to ensure your family's safety
- How to Hurricane Proof Your Home
- Preparing basic and emergency supplies
- Which damages does your policy cover?
Preparing for Hurricanes and Severe Storms.
While just the thought of a hurricane approaching can seem like a distant concern, keep in mind that they arrive quickly and with a bang. Once winds hit the 70 MPH range, you enter Category 1 territory. You don't even have to live by the coast to feel the impact of hurricane-like wind or rainfall.
Taking precautions to protect your family and home will help put you in the best position to be physically safe from harm and financially protected from property damage.
First, Protect Your Family:
- Stock your pantry with enough food and water to last at least 3 days
- Have all electronics charged for emergency communication
- Be sure to have backup power sources (batteries, generators, extra gasoline, etc)
- Fill up your gas tank. If electricity shuts down, gas pumps do too!
- Have a few emergency bags packed to ensure you have everything you need if you need to leave quickly – including any medications, water, extra cash, chargers, etc.
- Plan for the worst! Have an emergency contact list and escape route prepared. Let loved ones know where you will be in the event you are evacuated
Then, Protect Your Home:
- Secure all doors and shutters – make sure they are locked tight
- Brace doors in place, including garage doors and entrances to the home
- Shut chimneys closed to prevent strong winds from entering
- Expecting minor floods? Place valuables in a secure area or on high ground
- Protect home interior by creating flood barriers using sandbags
- If expecting severely strong winds, consider investing in hurricane glass
Add Extra Protection:
- Secure outdoor fixtures (patio furniture, grill equipment, etc.)
- Trim any growth outside your home (trees, bushes, plant life, etc.)
- Clear all gutters, downspouts and drains
- Consider protecting garage doors with heavy-duty hinges
- Check thresholds around doors, windows and caulk to prevent water leaks
- Using a generator? Follow these best practices for better electrical safety
Prepare Your Key Supplies
If the storm is not physically threatening, remember that even a simple power outage can prevent you from performing important tasks. Think about how taking your medication, feeding your pet or simply making your way around the house is like in complete darkness.
After major power loss not an ideal time to gather your most crucial belongings.
Instead, plan ahead and make your life easier. By identifying and organizing your emergency and basic supplies before the storm, you will improve your preparedness after it. This way, you are more likely to be able to function normally until power is restored.
Here are a few of the most commonly recommended supplies by Ready.gov:
Does Your Homeowner's Policy Have You Covered?
Home insurance offers -and excludes- certain coverages to different types of water damage that homes typically sustain during severe storms.
A good example would be damage by wind-driven rain. If water finds its way into your home during a storm and damages your belongings, your home insurance policy will cover your losses, right? Actually, it's not that simple.
Storm-related water damage usually unfolds in one two ways:
- Rain leaks into the home through a cracked seal or damaged roof tiles
- Wind damages the roof or window(s), allowing rain into the home
The first scenario would not be covered by your homeowner's policy because the water damage resulted from a pre-existing condition. The second scenario would be covered however, because damage was sustained by the storm, forcing water into the home.
Trust the Experts, Not the Internet!
No policy is created equal. Simply googling your way towards finding out exactly what your policy covers will set you up for disappointment, and maybe even losses.
It might be easy to assume that you are covered against obvious damages. But not until you have carefully reviewed your policy to understand where your coverage lies, can you be confident in the protection that your policy gives you.
Wind-driven rain? Flooding? How about damage from a fallen tree? Finding answers to these questions will help you avoid agonizing out-of-pocket losses in the future. Relying on a friendly insurance adviser can go a long way to ensuring your financial stability.