Chances are, if you live in an area affected by hurricanes, you know it already. Do you know if you have enough protection for your home in case of hurricane damage? Hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30, but the peak of the season is from mid-August to mid-October. You should review your insurance policy before the season starts, so that you will be prepared if a storm strikes.
Don’t assume that your homeowner’s policy will protect you from every peril associated with a hurricane. Many plans have strict deductible clauses that could include things like no coverage until the storm reaches a certain category. There is a very low chance that your homeowner's policy covers flood damage, which is a big part of hurricane damage. Be sure that you are covered against floods by getting separate flood insurance.
The most important thing you can do if a hurricane is coming your way is to evacuate. If there is an evacuation notice, leave as soon as possible. It can seem hard to leave your home behind, but follow these steps to better protect it.
Steps to Protect Yourself from Hurricanes:
You need to make sure your personal belongings are protected as well as your home itself. To protect your items from floods, the higher up you can store your important belongings, the better. Move pictures, valuable jewelry and expensive furniture to the highest floor of your home. If you have a basement, never leave any valuable items there when you leave.
Protect your windows. Flying debris is a large factor in hurricane damage. The glass of your home is very vulnerable to being broken by a flying tree limb or other object. If you live in an area where hurricanes and other bad storms are frequent, consider installing storm shutters. Otherwise, use plywood to cover all of your windows.
Move outdoor furniture. If you have patio chairs or other outdoor furniture, it should be moved inside. These objects could be lifted by wind during a hurricane and cause damage to your home. Any objects that are too heavy or large to move, such as swing sets and trampolines, should be secured to the ground. Just because you cannot lift something doesn’t mean hurricane winds cannot lift it. Flying large objects can cause severe damage. If you have an above ground swimming pool, consider securing it to the ground or taking it apart and moving it indoors.
Don’t forget to prepare for pets. If you are evacuating, your pets need to evacuate as well. Be sure that you have enough food and water for them. Get a crate for animals who may be afraid of the car, and be prepared to soothe the animal. Storms are stressful for pets, too! If you are planning to get a hotel, be sure to find one that accepts pets.
Unplug everything. Before leaving, unplug TVs and other electronics, lamps and everything else that runs on electricity. Turn off your utilities. This can protect your home from an electrical fire and your electronics from danger from lightning.
- Close and lock your doors. Be sure that all of your doors are secure. Wind can blow open an unlocked door, and an open door can cause rain to damage the inside of your home. Unfortunately, looting can also be a problem after a large hurricane, and locked doors can help protect your property.
Being in the path of a hurricane may be very scary. Keep yourself, your personal assets, and your family safe by evacuating when told to. Keep your home safe by following these tips and by reading your homeowner’s or renter’s policy to see if you are protected from floods, wind and other hurricane perils.
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