7 Steps to Preparing Your Home for a Hurricane
The data shows that North Atlantic hurricanes have continued to increase in intensity, duration and frequency since the 1980s. With climate change, this will get worse according to climate scientists. If you live in a hurricane prone area, you need to take steps to prepare.
There are several ways you can protect your home, or at the very least mitigate the damage.
1. Secure the area around your home.
Remove debris surrounding your home, because in a windstorm just about anything can become a projectile. When a storm is coming, remove any low-hanging tree branches and limbs, lawn furniture and other items around the outside of your home.
2. Prepare your windows and doors.
If your home has no shutters, keep a good supply of plywood on hand ahead of time for boarding up your windows from outside. Also inspect your doors and windows to make sure they are properly sealed. Sealing areas that can let water in helps save it from water damage.
3. Add power surge protection.
Protect appliances and electronics from power surges that can occur during a storm. Use power strips with surge protectors throughout your home and add a power surge protector to the electrical panel as well as the heating and air conditioning systems.
4. Put a protective cover over your air conditioner.
Put a manufacturer-approved protective cover over your air conditioning unit to protect it from airborne projectiles and debris. A professionally-approved cover, rather than jerry-rigging a solution from things on hand like a tarp or plastic bag, will keep your warranty valid.
5. Clear sump pumps of debris.
To prevent clogging, clear out your basement’s sump pump around the pump’s intake area. Having a battery backup system is a good idea in the event your home loses power.
6. Clean gutters and downspouts.
In a hurricane, clear gutters can help avoid basement or attic flooding.
7. Make sure you’re covered by appropriate insurance.
Read through your homeowners insurance policy to ensure valuable items are covered for damage and loss. Verify that your policy features flood insurance; this is important for any home in a vulnerable area. If you need to buy flood insurance, do it sooner rather than later because these policies have a 30-day waiting period before coverage is valid.
See our article Basic Facts About Hurricane Insurance Coverage for more information. It is a good idea to compare your current policy against others at least once a year. Learn more about homeowners insurance and get quotes to compare using the Einsurance online quote tool.