All eyes are on the weather as we approach the peak of hurricane season. While hurricane season lasts from June 1-November 30, the most significant risk is around September 11th. Early forecasts predict nine to fifteen named storms to hit our coasts during the 2019 season. Significant risks to homes include flooding, wind damage, tornadoes, flying debris, and sewer back up.
The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season caused over $50 billion in damages and was the third consecutive season of above-average damages; totaling eight hurricanes. Here are some important steps you can take before, during and after a storm to ensure you are prepared and safe:
Steps Before the Storm Is Announced:
- Make sure your property meets hurricane building codes and has storm shutters. French doors, sliding glass doors, and garage doors are particularly vulnerable and should get special attention.
- Install a backup generator to power critical appliances and air conditioning. If water enters your home, air conditioning can expedite the drying process and help prevent additional damage.
- Review your personal insurance policy. If you are not satisfied with your coverage limits, contact your agent to review your plan.
- Landscape with native plants and rubber or bark mulch instead of hardscapes. Decorative rocks and shells can become airborne and cause damage. Trim weak branches and trees.
- Stock an emergency kit. Include food and water for at least three days, medications, a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies. Supplies run low in stores once a storm is brewing.
- Take inventory of your personal property. Store the inventory off-site in a secure location or digitally in the cloud.
Steps When the Storm is En Route:
- Fill your gas tank and get emergency cash. If the power goes out, credit cards will be useless. Fill bathtubs with water for sanitation purposes. Gas pumps and water systems are dependent on electricity.
- Stay informed of the storm’s progress via weather reports, news, internet, or a battery-operated weather alert system.
- Fully charge cell phones, laptops, tablets, and back-up chargers.
- Board up the house, put up shutters, and strategically place sandbags. Secure all outside furniture and decor.
- Inform family members of your evacuation plans and routes if near the coast.
- Bring relevant documents and insurance information with you in a waterproof case during an evacuation.
- If you have pets, consider evacuating before an evacuation order is issued. Once issued, you may be ordered to leave pets behind.
- Double-check your emergency kit. Place it near a door so you won’t forget it if called to evacuate.
- If called to evacuate, do so immediately. Shelters and roads will be congested. It pays to get ahead of the crowd.
Steps After Hurricane Hits Your Property:
- If evacuated return home only after authorities have deemed it safe.
- Be cautious of gas or flooding hazards. If you suspect a gas leak, do not enter the property until the utility company inspects the damage.
- Protect your property from vandalism by boarding up broken windows or covering roof damage.
- Do not touch anything in contact with a downed powerline, including water or water puddles.
- Contact your insurance professional. List and document all damaged property. Include as many details as you can based on your pre-hurricane inventory. Keep records of any expenses incurred. Avoid permanent repairs until visiting with your insurance professional.
Risk Innovations is with our agents every step of the way. All of our carrier claims information is listed on our website and we are standing by to assist if a storm does impact your agency or your clients.