In true chaotic 2020 fashion, two hurricanes are headed for the Gulf at exactly the same time. Do you know how to prepare? There are several steps that should be taken to properly prepare your home for an upcoming hurricane season and an impending hurricane.
- Review Your Insurance Coverage and Make Changes If Needed
Although it may be too late for changes before the current hurricanes hit, reviewing your insurance and making changes prior to hurricane season is always a good idea.Additionally, reviewing your coverage just before a hurricane so you’re familiar with your policy limits and the fine print of your policy will help you navigate the cleanup process faster once the storm subsides.As you go over your policy, you’ll want to ensure that your home will be completely covered for the entire cost to rebuild it should the need arise, not just the face value.Also, if you don’t have flood coverage, it’s a good idea to add it if it’s available.Wind and damage from rain into the home will usually be covered under a standard policy, but flood water is not and requires special coverage.Massive flooding is common with hurricanes, and you could find yourself with zero coverage if you don’t have flood insurance.
- Take Inventory of Your Possessions
Go through your home annually and while prepping for a storm.Take inventory of the materials and possessions in your home so you’re aware of their value.Then, cross reference these things with your insurance policy to make sure they’re covered. Significantly valuable items may need to be documented and line-itemed in the policy. This will also speed things up on the backend if you need to file an insurance claim.
- Check Your Roof
Prior to the storm, inspect your roof for any damage, then repair and seal if possible.Hurricane damage often starts with damage to the roof, which is the home's first line of defense against wind and rain, so existing roof damage prior to the storm makes further damage to your home more likely.
- Inspect and Secure Exterior Structures
Exterior structures like porches and carports that are attached to the home can be ripped off and tear a hole in the house when strong winds come through.Make sure that the support posts are properly anchored into the ground and the structure is securely attached to the home.
- Seal Your Home
Check the seals around your doors and windows and recaulk them as necessary.Also, inspect the holes where cables and electrical wires enter the home.These are often overlooked but also need to be sealed in the event of a hurricane.
- Clear Your Exterior
Anything that isn’t attached to either the ground or the home needs to be strapped down or put away.Things like lawn chairs and garbage cans become dangerous and destructive projectiles in the strong hurricane winds.
- Sandbag and Board Up
If your location is forecasted to receive excessively high winds or you are near coastal waterways, you may also want to line up sandbags near the ground floor entrances to your home in the event of tidal surges. Windows are especially vulnerable to breakage from high winds hurling debris. Large picture windows can be secured with sheets of plywood if time and materials permit. Note: FEMA does not recommend taping your windows. While it may reduce a big mess if your window breaks, it'll only cause the window to break into larger, potentially deadly pieces.
Hurricanes are a scary prospect, but there are simple steps that can be taken to prepare your home and ensure that you’re as ready as possible when the hurricane hits and to avoid or reduce the inevitable water damage. If your property is damaged by the storm, you should contact a professional restoration company ASAP to start the cleanup and secure the property, not only to prepare for a possible second storm front, but to put a stop to escalating damages from the unwanted presence of water in your home's interior.