Hurricane season in the United States occurs annually from the beginning of June to the end of November. These are the months when our coastal communities are most in danger of the potential devastating destruction of hurricanes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines a hurricane as a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or greater. For many Americans, however, hurricanes are thought of less by this formal definition and more by the names that hold devastating memories in our collective conscious: Katrina, Andrew, and Sandy. According to NOOA, Hurricane Katrina was the most expensive hurricane in U.S. history, costing over $41 million in damages across six states.
For those living on the coast, hurricanes can pose significant physical and financial threats. With proper awareness and education, you and your loved ones can keep yourselves and your home as safe as possible during hurricane season. Follow these tips to prepare your home and family and remain safe this hurricane season.
- Map out an evacuation route in advance, develop a communication plan for your family, build an emergency kit of food with water and supplies that could last your family 72 hours.
- Follow the recommendations of local authorities. If you are told to evacuate, do so promptly.
- Review your homeowner’s insurance policy. Talk to your independent insurance agent to make sure that you have adequate coverage in case of hurricane damage. Also, review your deductible so that you know what you may need to pay out-of-pocket if a worst-case scenario occurs.
- Ask your independent insurance agent if flood insurance is recommended for your area. If you live in a flood-prone area, your agent may recommend a flood policy. Do not wait until a hurricane is in the forecast to have this conversation, though. There is typically a 30-day waiting period to obtain flood insurance.
- Consider installing an emergency generator in your home.
- Install straps or additional clips to fasten your roof to your house’s frame and reinforce your garage doors to protect against expensive structural damage.
- When a hurricane is predicted, tie down or move outdoor items such as chairs and tables so that they do not become dangerous projectiles in high winds. Also, nail windows shut with plywood to protect the interior and exterior of your home. Or you could invest in permanent storm shutters, which offer the best protection.
- Create a document of everything of value that is in your home. Save hard and electronic copies. If a disaster strikes, you may be asked to itemize your losses when filing a homeowner’s claim, so having a document created in advance will ensure everything of significance is recorded.
With proper planning now and in the days or hours before a potential storm strikes, you, your family, and your home can be protected from the damage of hurricane season.