(BPT) – Hurricane season is here. Are you and your home ready?
The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season goes from June 1 to Nov. 30. After several particularly active hurricane seasons, the need to be prepared is top of mind.
These powerful storms can unleash devastating winds, torrential rains, storm surges and tornadoes — all causing extensive damage. There are important actions you can take now to help protect your family and property in case you’re impacted by these powerful forces of nature.
Preparing your home for a hurricane
Here are hurricane preparedness actions you can take to help protect your property, and possibly even save your life:
Step 1: Start by walking through your home and taking inventory of possessions. Written lists or videos are good options in case you need to make a loss claim.
Step 2: Fill containers, buckets or tubs so that you can flush your toilets and wash your hands in the event you are allowed to stay home and your water supply is cut off. It can also be helpful to have sealable, frozen bags of water to help keep frozen items cold should you lose power.
Step 3: An emergency backup generator, whether a home standby or portable, can help keep some appliances running during a power outage — which could take days or even months before power is restored.
Step 4: If you have time, some home upgrades help strengthen your home to help prevent wind and water damage. Here are some things to consider:
- Hurricane-proof doors and windows
- Impact-resistant permanent shutters
- Patio doors made of tempered glass
- Functional sump pump with a backup power plan
- Hurricane garage door reinforcement
- Hurricane roof protection
- Caulk/fill cracks or holes in the foundation
- Replace landscape rock with mulch
Step 5: You should also consider flood insurance because a standard home insurance policy doesn’t cover damage caused by a flood. Flood insurance is available through the U.S. Government’s National Flood Insurance Program and can be purchased in participating communities. Insurance agents like those at State Farm that are enrolled in the NFIP Direct Program can write and service flood insurance coverage directly through the federal government. There is generally a 30-day waiting period for the policy to go into effect, so act now.
Hurricane evacuation tips
Some storms may require you to evacuate your property. You usually only have a day or two, so a hurricane evacuation plan can help. Your plan should include:
- A meeting place: If your family isn’t together when the evacuation order is given, plan a meeting place to reconnect, like a church, school or even a location in a nearby town.
- A designated out-of-state friend or relative as a family contact: This one person can update everyone in case your family is separated.
- Emergency cards: These cards can contain the meeting places in priority order along with important phone numbers and addresses, including that of your designated contact.
- An identified shelter or safe area for your location: Let friends and relatives know the shelter’s location in advance.
- Evacuation routes: The first route to your public evacuation shelter should be the fastest route from your home, workplace or meeting location, but consider some alternate routes as well.
- Pet care: Some shelters might not allow pets. Review your city or county’s evacuation plan to learn what local agencies or facilities might be able to house your pet during a hurricane.
- Car safety: You should make sure your gas tanks are full and that you have a hurricane evacuation kit ready to go in your vehicle.
- Time-to-go bags: Make sure you know who will grab the necessary bags and lock all the doors and windows.
After the storm: Hurricane cleanup
Despite taking proper precautions to prepare your home for a hurricane, damage happens. After the storm has passed, you can begin the cleanup process. Remember to wear proper safety gear, such as goggles, hard hats, masks, heavy-duty gloves and waterproof boots.
Before you begin, contact your insurance agent, as they may be able to provide assistance or help you in reporting your claim. Also, don’t discard or repair anything prior to reporting the claim. Learn more at StateFarm.com®.