Hurricane season in the U.S. is inevitable, resulting in billions of dollars of damage annually for home and business owners. These tropical cyclones hit the south and east coasts primarily between June and November, but you can start protecting your property now.
In addition to saving lives, preparing properly for a hurricane can save time and money throughout the recovery process. Take steps today to help mitigate tangible losses.
WHAT TO DO NOW
- Install protective shutters to cover your windows.
- Make sure your roof is sealed to prevent leaks and water damage.
- Secure soffits and trim any overhanging trees or loose branches around your property.
- Invest in a wind-rated garage door that can withstand the force of a hurricane.
- Purchase a backup generator to keep critical machinery, equipment, and lights operating in the event of a power outage.
- Take an inventory of your personal belongings or business equipment/stock.
- Be prepared to get prepared. Whether it’s a family emergency strategy or a business continuity plan, know when to implement last-minute measures.
WHAT TO DO LAST MINUTE
- Store any loose objects, such as patio furniture, pool items, bicycles, etc.
- Clear drainage systems and gutters of debris to ease water runoff.
- Close all windows and doors, including securing protective shutters.
- Seal cracks in your siding and interior walls and check your roof one last time to shore up any loose shingles.
- Move your commercial or personal vehicles into a garage or covered space if available.
- Pile sandbags against all doors leading outside as a simple, yet effective way to prevent flooding.
GETTING BACK TO NORMAL
If the hurricane damaged your property, contact your insurance carrier or agent to begin the claims process and review what’s covered on your policy.
Take before and after photos and keep a record of expenses incurred for consideration in your claim.
If possible, prevent the property from further damage by laying out a tarp over the roof and tidying up the inside of the building. Be careful, though. Do not enter a structure that may have taken on serious damage and is at risk of collapsing. Watch out for debris or downed power lines around the perimeter.
NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: HURRICANES https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes
RED CROSS: HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/hurricane.htm
Source: Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies