How to Protect Your Home from a Hurricane

2017 hurricane season proved devastating with hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria causing over $200 billion in damages. The numbers for each storm are staggering:

  • According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the current damage estimate from Hurricane Harvey is $125 billion damage, second only to Katrina as the costliest natural disaster in the United States.
  • Similar to Harvey, the damages by hurricane Irma are up to $50 billion, ranking it the fifth costliest.
  • Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico leaving 3.3 million without power or water and collapsing the island's healthcare infrastructure. The cost for Maria stands at $90 billion, right behind Harvey and Katrina.

Don’t assume that your homeowner’s policy will protect you from every risk associated with a hurricane. Many plans have strict deductible clauses that could stipulate no coverage until the storm reaches a certain category. Most homeowner's policies do not cover flooding, a big source of hurricane damage. Be sure that you are protected by getting separate flood insurance.

The most important thing you can do when a hurricane approaches is to safeguard yourself and family. In case of an evacuation order, do so as soon as possible. It is difficult to leave your home behind but there are some measures that might help to secure it.

Steps to Protect Yourself and Your Property In Case of Hurricanes:

  • Have a disaster supply kit ready. FEMA recommends that you include the following in a basic emergency supply kit:
    • 3 day supply of food and water
    • weatherproof, battery or hand-crank powered NOAA Weather Radio
    • Flashlight
    • First Aid Kit
    • Whistle to signal for help
    • Dust Mask
    • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
    • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
    • Manual, non-electric can opener
    • Local maps
    • also include any necessary prescription drugs
  • Families should establish certain guidelines:
    • determine the safest place in the house and how to reach it
    • establish a means of contacting each other in case of separation
    • designate a meeting point in case forced to leave your house
  • Make sure that personal belongings are safeguarded. It's best to store valuables as high as possible away from the floor. Move pictures, valuable jewelry, heirlooms and expensive furniture to the most elevated part of your home. Never leave valuable items in the basement.
  • Protect your windows. Flying debris is a big factor in hurricane damage. Glass windows and doors are very vulnerable to rocks, flying tree limbs or other objects. Consider installing storm shutters if you live in a hurricane or storm-prone area. Otherwise, cover all the windows with plywood sheets.
  • Move all patio/outdoor furniture indoors; they can become flying objects and cause damage to your property or a neighboring one. Heavy or large objects that are too difficult to move should be secured to the ground. Just because you cannot lift something doesn't mean hurricane winds can't. The consensus about above ground swimming pools is to leave them full and uncovered.
  • Get your pets ready. Be sure that you have enough food and water for them too. Get a crate for animals who may be afraid of cars. Storms are stressful for pets too! If you are planning to stay in a hotel, be sure it is pet-friendly.
  • Disconnect all appliances and electronic equipment: TVs, refrigerator, range, sound systems, computers, and any other electrically charged equipment. Turn off your utilities. This will help to shield your home from electrical fires and similar hazards.
  • Close, secure and lock all doors. Wind can blow open an unlocked door and cause major damage. Unfortunately, after a major storm looting may take place. Locked doors may help keep looters out too.

Being in the path of a hurricane may be very scary. Keep yourself, your family and your personal assets safe by heeding following the steps above and heeding evacuation advisories. Be informed, keep note of these tips, and read your homeowner’s or renter’s policy to see if you are protected from floods, wind, and other storm damage.

Let Infinity help you weather the storm. If you are not fully prepared to protect your assets from possible natural disasters, our licensed advisors are here to help. Click here to learn more.

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