Hurricane season takes place every year from June through November, with September being the peak of the storm season. Here at Quincy Mutual Group, we understand the devastating effects that this type of storm can have, and we want to ensure that you, your family, and your home are prepared — which is why we’re doing our part for National Preparedness Month and offering the steps to take before a destructive storm.
Prepare Your Surroundings
Before a storm approaches, it’s important to clear your outdoor surroundings of any items that can be picked up by high winds and act as projectiles. For example, weak tree branches or branches positioned over the structure of your home should be trimmed or removed. In addition to pruning branches, items like garbage cans and lawn furniture should be brought inside to prevent damage to your property.
Secure Windows and Doors
During a hurricane, wind speeds can reach dangerous highs ranging from 74 mph (Category 1) to 156 mph or more (Category 5). These high winds place homes under intense pressure and can create a strong force on the structure of the roof. However, closing all interior doors, windows, and exterior doors can help to reduce damage risks. In addition to closing all windows and doors, it is necessary to inspect the seals around these entrances. Caulk around windows and doors should not be cracked, broken, or missing.
To further protect your home, it’s recommended to install storm shutters to prevent your windows from shattering. You can also nail plywood panels to window frames to protect your windows before a storm approaches.
Secure and Seal Your Roof
Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against the strong winds and heavy rainfall of a hurricane, which is why it’s important to make sure it can withstand these effects. Before a hurricane hits, have a licensed and insured professional inspect your roof. They will check for loose shingles, leaks, and cracks, which can weaken the stability of your roof. To further protect your roof and its structure, it’s important to direct any water away from your home. Make sure your gutters are clear of any debris so rainwater can flow through them easily.
Create An Up-To-Date Home Inventory
In the event of damage to the structure of your home or your personal belongings, having an up-to-date home inventory can help assist in the claims process, as it details your possessions and their value. Begin at one end of your home and go room by room on every floor of your home, documenting your possessions. Be sure to include spaces like closets, basements, attics, and any off-site locations such as storage units. As you go through each room, document every item and include a description of the item, cost, and any other relevant details. For electronics, it’s especially important to include make and model numbers along with serial numbers. To better assist in this process, take photos and videos of all your belongings. Lastly, store your home inventory in a safe place where you will be able to access it in the event of a claim. We recommend storing a copy of your home inventory outside of your home in a secure location such as a safety deposit box or digitally on an external drive or online storage account.
Review Your Insurance Policy
Hurricanes are powerful storms, and no matter what precautions you take, they may still cause damage to your home. In the event that your property suffers damage from a hurricane, it’s important to understand the elements that might affect your insurance coverage. For example, homeowners often insure their home for the actual real estate value rather than the cost to rebuild. It’s important to ask your independent agent if your homeowners policy covers the cost to rebuild your home if it is severely damaged or destroyed. Additionally, your homeowners insurance policy likely includes separate deductibles for hurricanes and windstorms. You’ll want to fully understand these deductibles before the time of a claim.
Don’t wait until a hurricane watch is issued to take the necessary steps to protect your home. Prepare for the peak of hurricane season now before it’s too late. If you have questions about protecting your home during the storm season, Quincy Mutual Group works with more than 500 independent agents that can help review your current homeowners insurance policy to ensure that you, your family, and your home are properly protected. To find an agent near you, please visit our website: bit.ly/QuincyFindAgent.