At the start of every hurricane season, there always seems to be a significant increase in the number of headlines and articles written on how to protect your property against these forces of nature. While it might seem like information overload, here are a few key reasons why the topic of hurricane preparedness is everywhere:

  • The Atlantic hurricane season commences on June 1 and typically lasts through the end of November.
  • Hurricanes are part of a severe weather category called tropical cyclones, which also includes tropical storms and depressions, and they are considered the fiercest of these types of extreme systems.
  • With wind speeds of 74 miles per hour or greater, a hurricane has the potential to cause serious harm and property damage. Every part of a home is vulnerable, including the roof, siding, awnings, windows, chimney, gutters, doors, landscaping, fences, and more.

Because these storms can be so destructive, it’s critical that homeowners keep a close eye on their local weather forecast for storm watches, warnings, advisories, and outlooks during the peak season for hurricanes.

In addition, well before a potential storm is even a blip on a weather radar system, there are several things a homeowner can do to help make sure their home and family are prepared for the possibility that this type of major weather event may hit.

How Do You Prepare Your Home for Hurricane Season?

The following four actions are good places to focus your initial hurricane preparedness efforts:

1. Protect your property from hurricane damage

There are numerous steps you can take in advance that may better safeguard your home from the onslaught of a big storm, including:

  • Fixing anything that you have time to repair, like loose fence posts, siding panels, or roof shingles.
  • Using high-quality urethane-based caulk to seal windows, doors, and any holes coming through your exterior walls for pipes, cable, and electrical wiring.
  • Anchoring loose rain gutters and downspouts, posts supporting your porch and other attached structures, and outdoor grills and lawn furniture if they cannot be brought inside.
  • Removing damaged trees and other heavy landscaping that could become dangerous projectiles and cutting any limbs that could fall on your home.

2. Build a hurricane preparedness kit

If severe weather hits your community, you may have to remain in your home for a while. So, it’s smart to stock up on necessary supplies now and hopefully avoid the last-minute chaos at stores. You may want to start building your hurricane emergency kit with important essentials such as:

  • A gallon of water per household member per day
  • At least a three-day supply of nonperishable food
  • A can opener
  • Toilet paper
  • Adhesive and gauze bandages, pads, and tape
  • Hydrogen peroxide and antibacterial ointment
  • Aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen
  • Antibacterial hand sanitizer, soap, and hand wipes
  • Insect repellant
  • A flashlight, headlamp, and AA, AAA, and D batteries
  • A radio, phone charger, and candles that run on batteries
  • Matches, lighters, or a waterproof fire starter
  • A portable waterproof container for important documents
  • A change of clothing for each family member

3. Put together a hurricane emergency plan

If you and your family need to evacuate your home due to a pending storm, having a written plan to follow can help this process go as smoothly as possible. Take the time now, when you’re not under the stress or pressure of a hurricane bearing down on your area, to craft a plan that includes:

  • How you will stay on top of emergency alerts and warnings for your area.
  • A map of a primary evacuation route based on your city or county’s emergency plan.
  • Alternate roads and highways that you can use to drive to safety in case your main evacuation route is blocked.
  • Several locations other than your home where you can safely ride out a storm.
  • A list of specific needs, including medications, disabilities, and dietary restrictions, of the people and animals in your household.
  • A communication process for reconnecting with family members if you’re not together when a disaster hits.

4. Create a home inventory of all belongings

After a hurricane event, the damage to a home and the personal belongings inside can be extensive. If you need to file a claim as a result of a storm, being able to provide your insurance company with a recently updated home inventory that lists all your household items will generally make getting your claim settled an easier and faster process. If possible, along with each item in your inventory, record its purchase date; a description; its estimated value, brand, and serial number; and a receipt if you kept it. Following are just some of the items that should be included in a written or digital inventory:

  • Jewelry
  • Higher-end apparel
  • Handbags
  • Kitchenware
  • Footwear
  • Electronics
  • Small appliances
  • Musical instruments
  • Furniture
  • Home décor and artwork
  • Sports equipment

Make Fred C. Church Part of Your Hurricane Preparedness and Recovery Efforts

After a hurricane or other similar disaster, most families hope they can rebuild their home back to its original condition as quickly as possible and with as little financial burden as possible. However, your ability to do this is likely to depend on whether you have the appropriate type and amount of home insurance coverage and a policy that takes into consideration all of the special structural characteristics of your home, as well as the value of the belongings inside and the property surrounding it.

For this reason, there is another important hurricane preparedness step you might want to take before an unexpected storm arrives at your doorstep—schedule a conversation with a member of the Fred C. Church personal insurance team. As your insurance broker and risk manager, we will assist you in exploring valuable home insurance options, like guaranteed replacement coverage, that may offer you broader financial protection and more peace of mind if a worst-case scenario were to happen.

For additional guidance on how you may be able to better prepare your home and family for hurricane season and other similar events, please reach out to us. Remember, you can ask us anything.