Hurricanes can shatter lives as well as damage property. Being prepared can help you, your family or your business minimize the impact of the storm. The best time to start is before the threat is imminent. Here's what you need to know.
If you wait until a hurricane watch or warning is issued, it may already be too late to take certain precautions. You can mitigate property damage and get through any hurricane emergency with less stress by taking precautions before the season begins. Here’s what you need to know.
If you live on the coast or in a mobile home, you may have to evacuate in the event of a major storm forecast for your area. While you will undoubtedly get instructions from the local government, it's wise to create your evacuation plan well before a disaster strikes. This way, you can know ahead of time how to reach the nearest shelters quickly, take your pets into account in your plan, secure important papers, and make a trial run.
When a hurricane warning is issued, there’s a mad rush to local grocery and home improvement stores. Get ahead of the crowd by storing the following in a convenient place before the start of the hurricane season.
Plan to bring these supplies if you need to evacuate your location. Also, consider making a note on your calendar to regularly check each item (especially food and batteries) for upcoming expiration dates and ensure they are still usable. Replenish your stash as needed.
Creating a home inventory will help ensure that you have purchased enough property insurance to replace your possessions. It can also speed the claims process, substantiate losses for income tax purposes, and is helpful should you need to apply for federal or state disaster aid. Take pictures or video when possible. If you need to evacuate, be sure to include your home inventory among the important documents you take with you or store it in the cloud.
This hurricane season insurance checklist can help you understand your coverage and whether it’s adequate to repair or rebuild your home, if necessary, and replace your belongings.
Keep in mind that your homeowners insurance covers the cost of temporary repairs for hurricane damage and reasonable additional living expenses (ALE) over and above your normal living expenses if you have to relocate. These extra expenses can, for example, include the cost of getting to work or school if your temporary home is in a different community.
However, a typical homeowners insurance policy doesn’t cover flood damage, so consider looking into flood insurance. If you live by the coast, you may also need a separate policy for protection against wind and wind-blown water damage. Contact your insurance professional if you have questions about what your current policy will cover or need to expand your current coverage.
Hurricane-force winds can turn landscaping materials into missiles that can break windows and doors. Also, much of the property damage associated with hurricanes occurs after the windstorm when rain enters structures through broken windows, doors, and openings in the roof.
While making your home more resilient to protect against storm damage is undoubtedly an investment, you can do it in stages:
Hurricanes take a toll on businesses, too, so be prepared.
Next steps link: Now that you're prepared, know what to do when the threat of a hurricane is imminent.