Coastline residents know their meteorologist’s name by heart around this time of year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expects the 2021 hurricane season to be another above-average year with up to 20 named storms and three to five major hurricanes. Whether you’re a newcomer or an unfazed veteran, the fact is that more frequent and damaging storms are a risk to your home, possessions and loved ones.
(Long) Before the Storm
As you test your flashlights and stock up on Pop-Tarts, take preemptive measures to protect your property. The biggest risk to your home is debris breaking through your windows or roof, which not only allows rain to soak your rugs and ceilings, but also can expose your interior to catastrophic wind damage. Trim the trees on your property regularly to keep loose branches from turning into projectiles, and help prevent your beloved oak from crashing into your abode.
Storm shutters shield your home from debris, so inspect them each year. If you don’t have shutters, you may have to secure your windows with plywood, so measure all your windows to see how much you’ll need. Regardless of the materials, get them as soon as possible — you don’t want to run around a packed hardware store when landfall is imminent.
Finally, consider bringing in an inspector to check the durability of your roof and garage door. If you live in an older home or a newly established risk zone, you might need to install hurricane straps in your attic to give the framework additional support. Your biggest entryway can become your biggest liability if a gust punches through it, so consider retrofitting your garage door with grits and stronger wheel tracks. A skilled technician is necessary to install these safeguards, so schedule any upgrades during the off-season.
As the Hurricane Arrives
Locking your house down can be frustrating for many homeowners, especially if a hurricane is “weaker” or veers away at the last second. But don’t wait until the last second to prepare. Set up your shutters before the wind picks up. Secure all outdoor furniture, flower pots, yard and pool accessories, trash bins and anything else that could become a hazard. Set up sandbags to stop floodwater from seeping under your doors, and park your cars in your garage. Keep extra towels on hand for leaks and consider a sump pump for removing floodwater from a basement.
Coverage Against Windstorms and Floods
It’s important to understand how your homeowners or renters insurance will cover hurricane and windstorm damage. Policy requirements and deductibles vary state by state. Many policies cover your residence or living quarters, connected structures like the garage and unattached structures like a shed or swimming pool. Installing shutters, impact windows and a new roof may reduce your premium, and some plans may cover temporary repairs or even spoiled food from a power outage.
If you recently made renovations, update your agent to see how these changes will affect your coverage. Note that homeowners insurance will only cover wind damage — not water damage from flooding or storm surge. Policyholders in flood-prone neighborhoods should purchase separate flood insurance, and even those who don’t live in these areas should consider it, and check their flood zone status periodically for updates.
Clear Skies With We Insure
Preparation is everything during hurricane season. And when a storm comes, always prioritize the lives of you and your loved ones over your property — after all, this is why you pay for insurance. Contact your local We Insure agent to make sure you have the right coverage before the next hurricane blows through.