Start Preparing Now
Hurricane season begins June 1st through November 30th and it has been predicted to be a very active hurricane season for 2020.
In an area prone to hurricanes, it’s critical for every family member to have a clear understanding of what to do before and after the storm.
Hurricanes cause a lot of rainfall, and tornadoes spin off of hurricanes as well. Hurricanes can leave thousands of residents without power or water for days and sometimes weeks. In the event of an evacuation, it can take up to 72 hours before emergency crews are able to enter affected communities.
In addition to the storm itself, there are three hurricane threats to deal with: hurricane-force winds, flooding and tornadoes. People inland need to be prepared with a hurricane plan just as if they lived along the coast. Hurricane preparation is one of the most important precautionary measures you can take to protect your home, car and family.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for the season:
Review Your Policy
Not having enough coverage can be just as traumatic as experiencing damage to your home. Take a few minutes to review your policy and make sure you have enough coverage.
- Choose the right hurricane deductible. Always make sure you have the funds set aside to cover the deductible you have chosen on your policy. If your home is damaged and you are unable to pay the deductible, it will prolong the recovery process.
- Review your personal property coverage. Throughout the years as you’ve purchased or sold items, have you updated the personal property coverage on your policy? It is important that the amount selected for this coverage is enough to repair or replace damaged items.
- Make sure your home has the right coverage to replace/repair your home.
- Consider flood insurance. Homeowners policies do not include flooding. Storms can leave many homes devastated by floods.
- Get to know all of the exclusions (flooding, sewage backup) in your policy and either talk to your insurance professional about purchasing separate coverage, or be prepared to pay out of pocket for the damages that are excluded in your policy.
Protect Your Home
- Cover all of your windows, either with hurricane shutters or wood.
- Although tape can prevent glass from shattering everywhere, be warned that tape does not prevent the window from breaking.
- If possible, secure straps or clips to securely fasten your roof to the structure of your home.
- Make sure all trees and shrubs are trimmed and clear rain gutters.
- Reinforce your garage doors.
- Bring in all outdoor furniture, garbage cans, decorations, and anything else that is not tied down.
- If winds become strong, stay away from windows and doors and close, secure and brace internal doors.
Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car caused by events that are out of your control. It covers things like theft, vandalism, glass and windshield damage, fire, accidents with animals, weather/acts of nature, etc. Comprehensive is an optional coverage, but important to have, especially during hurricane season. Speak to your insurance professional to have this added to your auto policy.
- Non-perishable food (enough to last at least 3 days)
- Water (enough to last at least 3 days)
- First-aid kit (include any prescription medication you may need)
- Personal hygiene items and sanitation items
- Flashlights (have extra batteries on hand)
- Battery operated radio (again, have extra batteries)
- Waterproof container with cash and important documents
- Manual can opener
- Lighter or matches
- Books, magazines, games for recreation
- Special needs items: pet supplies and baby supplies if applicable
- Cooler and ice packs
- A whistle in case you need help
- A plan for evacuation and for if family members are separated
In the event a storm should leave you without power, there are a few things to consider and help you be ready and stay safe.
- Gas: Make sure your tank is full far in advance of an approaching storm. Most people wait until the last minute, rush to get extra gas for cars and generators, and subsequently gas stations can run out early.
- ATMS: Have extra cash on hand in the event no ATMS in your area are accessible or working.
- Cell Phones: Charge your cell phone and limit use after power is out.
- A/C: This can be the most uncomfortable side effect of losing power during a storm. Try to prevent as much light from entering and warming the house by covering up your windows on the inside. If you have back-up or battery operated fans, don't run them unless you are in the room. Fans create a difference in perceived temperature but do not cool the room; instead they create a cooling effect by dispersing the heat off your skin. It is said they can actually add heat to a room just by running.
- Water: Fill bathtub or washing machine with water for washing and flushing only.
- Food: Turn your fridge temperature to the lowest setting and/or freeze any food or drinking water that can be frozen if you expect a power outage. Have a cooler with ice packs prepared to cool your drinks and snacks after power has been out for more than 4 hours.
Remember, any severe storm can be deadly and destructive. Prepare ahead of time and listen to the directions of officials for the approach. Secure your home, or find a safe shelter for its arrival, and know how to proceed safely during the aftermath. Stay safe. Stay protected.