Wind and water damage from hurricanes and tropical storms can wreak havoc on your home, not to mention the stress they cause the people who are in the path of a hurricane. Please keep reading for some hurricane safety tips and learn how to keep your family safe this hurricane season.
At the Start of Hurricane Season
If you live along the Gulf Coast or Eastern Seaboard, it’s important for you to stay weather aware during the summer and fall. The official Atlantic hurricane season runs from June through November. Occasionally storms form outside of these months, but August, September and October are the most common months for hurricanes to make landfall in the United States. Pay close attention to the National Hurricane Center and your local news for any possible tropical storms or hurricanes that may be headed your way.
Before the beginning of hurricane season, check your storm and hurricane deductibles in your homeowners insurance policy. Before the beginning of hurricane season, check your storm and hurricane deductibles in your homeowners insurance policy. According to Forbes, hurricane deductibles can be either a set amount or a percentage typically ranging from 1-5% of your home’s insured property value, but in some states it might be as high as 10%. It’s important to check your policy and make sure you know exactly what your deductible is so you can plan accordingly for any costs you may have to pay.
Be sure to also keep your insurance agent’s contact info on hand, and have copies of your policies ready. You may want to use a tool like Google Drive to store copies of important documents so that they are easily accessible from anywhere, should you need to evacuate. In case the worst should happen, you need to be able to start the claims process as soon as possible. Having the paperwork out and ready will help speed things up.
It is also important to get flood insurance. Don’t assume you have flood coverage because if you’re not sure, that probably means you don’t. If you’re anywhere within the path of a storm, you’re going to get rain which can lead to flooding. While flood damage can be repaired, heavy rains or storm surges are usually excluded from most policies. There’s also typically a 30-day waiting period before it takes effect, so get it as soon as possible if you don’t have it. You can check out the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to see what options they have.
Gather your family’s essential documents and paperwork, including birth certificates, passports, etc. Those are hard to replace and after a hurricane the process to replace them can take even longer.
Make a list of your valuables and belongings, and document it with photos or video. Claims processes for insurance can be a pain, and the best way to make it go faster is to have a record of your belongings in case they’re damaged, lost or destroyed. You can either take pictures of your items, or take videos of them. If you take pictures, be sure to include text that identifies the item, its value, brand name, and/or serial number. If you take a video you can verbally relay the information as you record each item.
Trim or remove trees close enough to fall on your home. If your yard has become overgrown with large tree limbs that could cause damage, deal with it at the start of hurricane season. Once a storm is on its way, it could be too late.
Stock up on non-perishables, water, batteries, and other essentials. Throughout hurricane season, it’s a good idea to keep some extra non-perishable foods on hand. If you plan to use canned goods, be sure to also have a manual can opener in case the power goes out. Of course, while power outages are always a concern during hurricanes, if you protect your home with solar panels and a solar backup battery, you can keep the lights on even if the power goes out.
Make a plan for where you will go if you need to evacuate. Do you have friends or family that you can stay with, or will you need to find a hotel? Do you have an emergency fund to cover the costs of evacuation? How will you get there? If you have pets, does your evacuation plan include your furry friends?
When a Hurricane or Tropical Storm Is on Its Way
If you are in the direct path of a hurricane or tropical storm, now is the time to double-check your past preparations. Top off your supplies of non-perishable food, water, and gasoline as soon as possible. (The longer you wait, the longer the lines at grocery stores and gas stations will be and the more likely it is for them to run out of inventory.) Be sure to keep enough cash on hand to cover any immediate expenses in case the power goes out. If you need to withdraw cash from an ATM or bank, do it as soon as possible.
Whether you plan to stay and ride out the storm or evacuate, you’ll want to prepare your home for possible wind damage and flooding from the storm. Secure or bring inside any outdoor items that could be picked up by high winds and hurt someone, such as trash cans and lawn furniture. Anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside, such as gas grills and propane tanks. Protect your windows with storm shutters or plywood, and clean out drains, gutters, and downspouts. If your home is prone to flooding, be sure to gather protective materials such as plastic sheeting and sandbags.
Decide as soon as possible if you will stay or evacuate. If you evacuate, do so as soon as possible. Either way, be sure to communicate to friends and loved ones outside of the storm area what your plan is. If you do not evacuate, hunker down and stay off the roads and indoors for the duration of the storm.
After the Storm
In the unfortunate event that you receive damage to your home during a hurricane or tropical storm, Buildpro is here for you!
If your shingle, metal, or flat roof gets damaged during a hurricane, our roofing specialists can manage the entire project from start to finish under one company. Dealing with insurance claims for roof damage can be stressful and time-consuming, but don’t worry! Our team of professionals can help with roofing insurance claims and roof repairs. And if you have solar panels we can also take care of safely removing and reinstalling your solar panels.
Hopefully this hurricane season will be a mild one and you won’t even need to use these hurricane safety tips. But it’s always better to be safe than sorry, so stay vigilant and be prepared! If we can assist you in any way following a hurricane or storm, don’t hesitate to contact us.