The 2018 hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, calls for the number of storms and hurricanes to be slightly above average. A total of 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 3 major hurricane are expected this season. Making a few simple moves now could minimize a storm’s impact on your home or property:
- Brace your garage door to prevent more-extensive damage. Many people believe that the roof is the most vulnerable part of the house, but it’s not. It’s the garage door. Most garage doors are not reinforced, and when the wind gets into the garage, it creates a positive push at the same time that the wind swirling above the structure creates a negative pull. That push-pull combination can cause the roof to fly off. There are kits that you can buy at home-improvement stores to brace your garage doors.
- Secure your windows and doors. Broken windows can let in wind and rain, and they can also increase the pressure under the roof. Storm shutters provide the best protection, but boarding up windows when a storm is on the way can help, too. Don’t bother taping your windows, though, putting masking tape on the windows literally does nothing. Make sure doors have several locking mechanisms so they don’t fly open; deadbolts are best. And it’s important to secure windows and doors at all sides of the home — not just the one facing the body of water where hurricanes could form because hurricanes can swirl in any direction.
- Protect your roof. Consider hurricane straps to ensure your roof is bolted to the rest of your house. And inspect your roof tiles or shingles to make sure they are secure. Use roofing cement to fix any loose tiles to prevent them from becoming lethal projectiles during a storm and damaging the underlying roofing material. Seal any areas where wires enter the home, minimizing the chance of water damage during heavy wind and rain.
- Trim your trees. Make sure that there are not any dead sections on your trees threatening the home. Broken limbs could land on your (or your neighbor’s) house or become missiles that can break windows during a storm. If your tree damages your house or a neighbor’s house, your insurance cover the damages, but it may pay only a portion — say, $500 to $1,000 — of the cost of tree removal. And in most cases, nobody’s insurance policy will pay if the tree falls but doesn’t hit anything, even though hauling it away could cost a few thousand dollars.
- Take inventory. The last thing you want to be doing after you’ve been affected by a hurricane is to try to remember everything you had in the house. Having an inventory will make the process of getting through a claim and getting back to normal so much easier. The Insurance Information Institute’s KnowYourStuff.org is a great place to get started. Keep the inventory in a safe place away from your home.
- Update your insurance. Make sure you have the right amount of insurance, and fill in a few key gaps in coverage.
- And if you do end up filing a claim, contact Claims Aid Consultants to help your claims process go smoothly and obtain the best settlement possible.