Your Hurricane Season Home Maintenance Checklist

Your Hurricane Season Home Maintenance Checklist
Every year, large portions of the U.S., along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific Coasts, are exposed to a barrage of tropical storms and hurricanes. Strong winds, heavy downpours, coastal storm surges, and flooding as far as 100 miles inland threaten local homeowners in these areas with property damage and loss of life and limb. With hurricane season running from either mid-May or early-June through the end of November, it is never too early to prepare.
Here are some of the key ways to prepare yourself and your home for another year of storms:

Buy Homeowners Insurance
One of the first actions you should take before hurricane season gets into full swing is to purchase protection for your biggest investment (your home) in the form of a homeowners insurance policy.

Your policy should cover damage to your main building, garage, and detached structures from hurricanes, other natural disasters, fires, floods, and more. You want a policy that takes care of repairs or a full rebuild, whichever is needed. Many policies also allow you to cover a certain amount and kind of personal property present in your home or on your lot, and may even throw in a degree of liability coverage.

Get Your House Ready for the Storm, Should It Come
Getting homeowners insurance is one thing, but you also need to implement some home maintenance preparations, including these:

  • Trim dead or weak tree branches or branches that overhang or come close to your building. Hurricane-strength winds can easily knock down branches and plunge them into your home’s roof or exterior wall.
  • Be sure your gutters and downspouts and securely fastened. And be sure they will drain properly instead of backing up and causing water damage.
  • If you have old, relatively weak windows, doors, and roofing, repair and replace it to bolster your defenses. A roof that is already on its last leg, for example, will likely leak badly when a major hurricane strikes.
  • Buy a portable, gas-powered emergency generator and store it and a healthy fuel supply in your garage, cellar, or other secure location. Keep electric heaters and/or air conditioners ready at hand that can be run from your generator.
  • Invest in hurricane shutters to cover all of your home’s exterior windows. There are several types of hurricane shutters, including auto-roll-down, accordion, Bahama style, awnings that lower to cover the windows, simple steel-panel shutters, and “plywood” shutters.

Prepare Yourself and Your Family
Last but most certainly not least, you need to prepare for hurricane season by forming an evacuation plan, knowing ahead of time where you will stay until the storm passes, and assembling a list of emergency contact numbers.

If your community sends out emergency texts or email alerts, be sure to check regularly during a storm (and always have your cell phone charged and ready just before a hurricane arrives.) You should also stock up on emergency supplies like non-perishable foods, bottled water, basic medications, a first aid kit, a flashlight with extra batteries, a battery-operated radio, and some emergency cash.

Pay attention to hurricane watches (to hit within 48 hours) and warnings (to hit within 36 hours) on the TV and radio. Try to stay in contact friends, relatives, and neighbors in the area to make sure they are preparing, and more distant family so they know you are safe.

Your home is the biggest investment you are likely to make in your whole life, so be sure to protect it in every way possible as hurricane season progresses. To learn more about how you can protect the investment you’ve made in your home, contact us at Flagler County Insurance Agency today.