Tips to protect your home during hurricane season
August 12, 2022
In the year 2020, thirty storms were declared hurricanes. New England is currently heading into the heart of hurricane season, with August and September being the worst months. Read on for some tips to protect your home during hurricane season.
Protecting your home
There are many basic things that you can do to make sure your home is protected against the most common forms of storm damage.
1. Replace missing or damaged shingles and siding.
If a shingle or piece of your siding is damaged, it’s more likely to break free. Missing shingles cause even more of a problem – they allow gaps for the wind to do greater damage to the outside of your house. Wind only needs a small opening to get underneath something like a shingle or siding and rip it off.
2. Keep your gutters clear.
Water damage or flooding is one of the quickest ways to devalue your home. Ensuring your gutters are clear is the first line of defense in helping water to flow away from your home. The grade of your lot should keep water flowing away from your home and into a ditch, drain, or some other area to properly catch water.
3. Keep your sump pump in working order.
A sump pump is used to remove water that has accumulated in a water-collecting sump basin, found in the basement of your home.
4. Ensure proper sealing of doors and windows.
And in the event of tornadic winds, a small opening in your windows or doors could enlarge and allow enough wind inside to compromise your home’s roof.
5. Check for loose fence posts.
Anything that’s not nailed down and secured properly is a liability. Fence posts are included in this list of liabilities. It is commonly forgotten about when examining your coverage, so make sure to double check the security of your fence posts.
6. Regularly trim your trees.
Loose-hanging tree limbs can damage your home, a vehicle, or even your neighbor’s property. All of this spells trouble for you. Regularly trimming your trees is the best way to protect your property, and the properties of those around you.
7. Take a walk around your property often.
A lot of people don’t make the time to meticulously check for liabilities on your property before a storm. Doing small things like identifying potential projectiles, such as lawn furniture, tools, or flower pots, is the best thing you can do to prevent unnecessary damage to your home. Move these small things to a secure, indoor space. A shed works, but a garage is better.
8. Keep a generator on hand.
While a generator doesn’t prevent damage to your home, it can increase the livability of your home while the power is out during a storm.
What to do if a storm damages your home
Even if you take all of the steps you can to protect your home, inevitably, some damage may occur. Here are some tips on what to do in the event of a storm damaging your home.
1. Be careful and stay alert.
The destruction and aftermath of a storm can pose the threat of serious injuries. Once you can confirm that everyone in the house is unharmed, take measures to neutralize hazards like broken glass, exposed nails, or displaced screws. Also be alert for unsecured piles of debris like caved-in roofing materials, standing water, and collapsed walls.
- Be wary of down power lines. Always assume that they are on and dangerous. If you smell gas in your home, shut off any gas valves to prevent further damage.
2. Assess the damage and take photos.
After the storm has passed, and before contacting your insurance company, assess the storm damage to your home. To ensure you’re fully compensated, take pictures of any interior and exterior damage. While you’re inspecting, record any of the following:
- Roof lifting and lost shingles. Be alert of any holes or leaks in the roof, split seams, dents on vents and gutters, or damaged shingles.
- Missing or damaged exterior siding. Rain can cause damage to siding and strong winds can tear it right off.
- Broken windows and destroyed doors. The wind itself as well as the debris it carries can easily break windows and blow open doors.
- Damaged or broken appliances, including your air conditioner. This can happen because of water damage.
- Basement flooding. When the soil surrounding your home becomes too saturated with water, your basement or crawl space can flood, causing damage to the foundation of your home.
- Moisture damage. When rain and water seep into your home, they can cause mold to develop in insulation, wood, furniture, and carpeting.
- Fire damage. Electrical shorts caused by down power lines or water entering outlets and electrical equipment can cause fires. In the case of a fire, evacuate you and your family out of the house as quickly as possible.
- Lastly, don’t forget to record and lost or destroyed personal items. Most homeowners insurance policies include personal property coverage up to a scheduled limit.
3. Call your insurance agent right away if a storm damages your home.
After you’ve photographed everything, call your agent as soon as possible, and stay in contact until the claim is fully processed. They will be able to help you through the claims process, explain what is covered, and send an adjuster to determine the extent of the damage.
4. Stop further damage.
Do what you can to prevent the elements from further damaging your home. If wind is seeping through holes in the side or roof of your house, seal them. Cover as many holes and minimize further damage as much as possible, then consider contacting a restoration service to make the rest of the repairs. They will help you get your property back to normal. If you don’t know of a trusted contractor in your area, your insurance company often can help you get in contact with one. Consider booking a hotel room for the time being, if your home is in an unlivable condition.
5. Stay organized and keep receipts.
Keep good documentation for any claim to your homeowners insurance. Save all receipts for materials and labor to ensure you receive fair reimbursement. Lastly, familiarize yourself with what your homeowners insurance policy covers. For example, a typical homeowners insurance policy will cover tree damage from a storm, but the biggest exception to most coverages is flood damage. A homeowners insurance policy will typically cover three scenarios:
- Weather damage. This typically includes damage due to hail, wind, fire, snow, and more.
- Non-weather events. Common non-weather events are actions like theft and vandalism.
- Sudden/accidental events. This includes situations like a water pipe breaking or a water leak.
At WebFirst Insurance, we want to ensure you and your family are safe, and that your home is ready to take on the elements. Consider letting us provide you with affordable homeowners insurance that protects you from storm damages, at an affordable cost.