Hurricanes can inflict considerable damage to both lives and property. Thankfully, being prepared can help you, your business and your family minimize the damaging effects of a storm. The best time to get prepared is before the unwelcoming hurricane season arrives.
Don’t wait until you get a hurricane warning. This is because it may then already be too late to take necessary precautions. While you can’t control where and when a hurricane will strike, you can still reduce the risk of potential property damage and get through such an emergency situation with less stress by preparing yourself before the season starts. Keep reading to know what steps you can take to prepare for hurricane season:
• Decide Your Evacuation Route Well Before Time: If you dwell on mobile or live in a coastal belt, you may need to evacuate in the event of a hurricane or a major storm. Although the local government will instruct you on this, it’s always good to plan your evacuation well before the natural disaster strikes. This way, you would be aware of the nearest shelters. Also, keep your pets in mind when planning out and don’t forget to take important documents along with you. If possible, make a trial run to see how prepared you are for the actual event.
• Keep All Non-Perishable Emergency Supplies at Hand: Whenever a disaster warning is issued, people rush to stores to stock up on necessary things. Hence, it is wise to avoid the rush by keeping the following at hand:
➢ Extra batteries
➢ Matches (dry)
➢ Tools and supplies for emergency repairs at home like hammers, heavy plastic sheets, plywood, etc.
➢ Prescription medications
➢ Minimum 3-day supply of drinkable water
➢ Food items that don’t require cooking or refrigeration
➢ First aid kit
➢ Lamps with fuel and candles
➢ A flashlight
➢ A wrench along with another basic tool
➢ A portable NOAA weather radio
In case you need to evacuate, bring along all the items mentioned above with you. If food items or batteries approach their expiration dates before the season, use them and replace them.
• Create an Inventory of Your Personal Property: This will help ensure that you have amply insured to replace your personal belongings. This will also accelerate the claim process, support losses for income tax-related purposes, and substantially aid you in filing a hurricane damage claim. In case you need to evacuate, make sure to carry your home inventory as the most important papers with you.
• Check Your Insurance Policies: This will allow you to understand your insurance coverage, and whether or not it would be appropriate to restore or repair your property, or replace your possessions.
Remember that your property insurance may only cover the expenses of temporary repairs for damage due to the hurricane season, along with additional living expenses (ALE) beyond normal living costs when you need to relocate, including additional expenses of commuting to work or school (if your temporary shelter lies in a different area).
It is also to be noted that homeowners’ insurance policies don’t cover the cost of flood damage. In case you live in a coastal region, you may require a separate policy to safeguard yourself against wind or wind-induced water damage.
For questions regarding your current policy coverage and how you can make it more beneficial, contact your service provider.
• Take Measures to Safeguard Your Home: Speedy hurricane winds can turn your landscaping elements into missiles that can break your doors and windows. In fact, the bulk of the damage related to hurricanes happens after the storm, when rainwater gets inside the property through damaged roofs, widows, and doors.
While retrofitting is an excellent way to reduce such risks, it is quite expensive. However, you can still consider doing it in stages.
➢ Replace rock or gravel landscaping elements with shredded bark, which has less weight and will not cause much damage.
➢ Cut down branches and trees that you find weak as during a storm they may fall onto your home. Also, keep the shrubbery around your home trimmed.
➢ Get a storm shutter installed to safeguard your windows against breakage. You may alternatively consider plywood panels that you can nail to window frames once a warning is a hurricane issued.
➢ Keep all your exterior doors hurricane-proof. Make sure that each door has a minimum of 3 hinges along with at least a 1-inch-long deadbolt lock.
➢ All sliding glass doors must have tempered glass fittings and keep them covered with plywood or shutters during the storm. This is important because glass doors are more susceptible to damage due to wind.
➢ Replace garage tracks and doors with new ones that come with impact protection and can resist wind pressure.
➢ Seal all exterior wall openings like outdoor electrical outlets, vents, garden hose bibs, and other sites where pipes and cables are going through the wall. Make use of top-quality urethane-based caulk to prevent water to penetrate.
➢ If you reside in a mobile home, you must be aware of how to protect it against speedy winds. You must also go through your mobile home insurance policy.
➢ In case you own a boat on a trailer, learn how to anchor it to the ground.
Additionally, consider reviewing your boat insurance policy.
• Take Measures to Safeguard Your Business: Hurricanes can wreak havoc on anything and your business is no different. So, preparing yourself in advance is the key.
➢ Develop an emergency business continuity and response plan. In the event of a hurricane, this will enable you to recover quickly.
➢ Keep the contact information of your suppliers, vendors and employees with you, so you can check if they are all well and discuss with them further steps to resume normal operations.
➢ Consider reviewing your business policy to understand its coverage.
For more information on how to prepare for hurricane season, you can visit
https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes. If you are struggling to file a hurricane damage claim or want to get a fair settlement for your losses due to the hurricane, consider contacting an established hurricane damage insurance claim adjuster in your area.