It’s that time of year again! The weather is starting to cool off, the kids are all going back to school, and, sure enough, the hurricanes are making their way back, too! Unfortunately, hurricane season can bring a lot of uncertainty and fear for many homeowners. While you can’t control the weather, there are some things you can do to prepare, plan, and properly insure your home so you are not at risk if the unthinkable happens.
Make a Plan
Where will you go if you have to evacuate? How will you alert your family? And what about taking care of your pets? These are all questions you need to answer before a hurricane even appears on the radar. Share your plans with family, friends, and neighbors so they are aware of your next steps in case anything serious looks like it’s about to happen.
Understand Your Coverage
You hopefully already have homeowners insurance, but before hurricane season begins, it is more important than ever that you understand your policy; what is covered and what is not covered. Talk to a qualified independent insurance agent who can provide an unbiased audit of your current insurance and help you understand if you’re properly covered. Many plans do not cover flood insurance and some limit coverage from wind damage, so make sure you know the ins and outs of what your coverage includes. If your insurance agent finds something you’re missing, then they can then help you find the best plan to meet your needs!
Prepare Your Home
When preparing for a hurricane, make sure you secure the outside of your home. Take bikes, plants, and other objects inside. Get any large or old looking trees trimmed or even removed. Cover your pool as well as any statues or sculptures with burlap or tarps and tie them down. If you live in a flood zone, place sandbags in front of doors and windows to prevent water from leaking in. Lastly, if you don’t already have storm shutters, they are a great investment and will help keep your home protected from extra damage.
If you decide not to evacuate, you need to have an emergency stockpile to last you for potentially 3-5+ days. Stock up on enough canned goods, nonperishable foods, water, medicine, health supplies as well as pet supplies to last you long enough. You should also prepare a first aid kit and hurricane kit so you have all of your emergency tools in one place. Store emergency kits and important documents in a safe location, preferably in something waterproof and on a high self to avoid any damage from possible flooding.
Before a hurricane, recharge all of your electronics, batteries, and any essential equipment. You should also refill your gas tank in case you decide to evacuate or need to go to an emergency shelter. Lastly, consider purchasing a generator in case the power is out for days. This will require fuel of some sort, so make sure you have a stockpile of that as well stored in a safe location away from other hazards.
Know All of Your Options
The best thing you can do to prepare for a hurricane is simply to do your research ahead of time. If it looks like a minor tropical storm and the meteorologists aren’t too worried about damages, you can probably stay in your home and will be fine. But if things take a turn, listen and trust officials if they recommend you evacuate. You have to do what will make you and your loved ones feel most comfortable and safe! During these situations, shelters fill up fast, so plan accordingly and write down the addresses of all of your options in the event you need to seek an alternate plan.
All in all, you can never be too prepared for a hurricane. Always keep a stockpile and emergency kit ready so you can be quick to take action when the weather turns threatening. The most important thing you can do ahead of time is make sure you’re properly insured in case the worst does happen, giving you peace of mind in the face of uncertainty.