Living on any coastline means you probably watch the weather forecast like a hawk during the summer and fall, also known as hurricane season. Hurricanes typically take place between June 1 through November 30, leaving serious damages and destruction in their wake. Every year, hurricanes and storm-related flooding cause around $34 billion in losses to U.S. households.
As a homeowner living in an area where hurricanes happen frequently, you’ll want to take preventive measures to protect your property. Here are six tips on how to hurricane-proof your house this hurricane season.
1. Store Outdoor Furniture
When gusty winds pick up speed, your outdoor items can turn into flying ammunition and lead to substantial damage to your home. Consider storing items such as patio furniture, trash cans, planters, or outdoor decorations in a large storage container, shed, garage, or even inside your home until a storm passes through. You might want to think about cutting back on the number of heavy items you have in your yard or patio, so you can spend less time worrying about them before a storm.
2. Secure Every Window
Ron Wysocarski, a top real estate agent in Daytona Beach, Florida, is no stranger to the destruction of hurricanes. He says that your windows are the most at-risk parts of your home when it comes to hurricane damage.
“It’s best to have hurricane-impact windows with heavy frames that resist breakage and projectiles of up to 150 miles per hour,” he explains. In addition to protecting the house itself, high-impact windows help to prevent water intrusion and can lower the cost of your insurance premiums.”
Hurricane impact-resistant windows typically average about $7,754, with each window ranging from $90 to $400. However, this hefty investment can save you the stress of having to deal with broken or shattered glass. A more inexpensive option is installing basic plywood to protect your windows during a storm.
3. Reinforce Entry Points
Garage doors are the largest entry point of your home, which makes them one of the most vulnerable areas during a storm. If your garage door isn’t properly reinforced, gusty winds could remove it from opening, causing air pressure to build up and potentially blow off the roof. If you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes, you might want to consider investing in a hurricane-resistant garage door. A less expensive option for securing your garage doors would be removable galvanized steel and aluminum panels, which can be mounted to your garage doors when needed.
Front and Back Doors
For your front and back doors, fiberglass is your best bet for hurricane protection. Fiberglass doors are also better at keeping out rain than wood or steel doors.
4. Protect and Secure HVAC System
A hurricane can lead to thousands of dollars in damages to your home’s HVAC system. Here are some steps you can take to protect your HVAC systems before, during, and after a storm.
Before the storm
- Use hurricane straps or a protective cage to secure the base.
- Remove any foliage, bushes, or loose items from around the unit to impact damage.
- Cool down your home as much as possible in case your power goes out during a storm.
- Have an HVAC professional evaluate your system and perform any necessary maintenance.
- Invest in a generator to keep your system running in the event of a power outage.
During the storm
- Turn off your thermostat and circuit breaker for your HVAC system to avoid damage to the unit.
After the storm
- Once the storm has passed, check your HVAC unit to see if there are any dents or other damages. Have a professional examine the unit to determine if it’s safe to operate.
- Never turn on the power if there is water in or surrounding the unit.
- If you don’t see water or damage to the unit, turn on the circuit breaker and check for any abnormal noises.
- Document any damages by taking pictures or videos so you can submit them to your insurance provider.
5. Stock Up On Emergency Supplies
Hurricane-proofing your home is very important, but you also want to remember an emergency supplies kit to get you through a storm. Stock up on non-perishable foods and instant meals that can be prepared without heat. For water, you typically want to get one gallon per person for each day. Make sure your phone and other communication devices have a way to power them such as a portable charger. For entertainment purposes, be sure to have games or others activities to keep you and members of your household entertained.
6. Review Your Insurance Coverage
No matter how prepared you are for a hurricane, sometimes damages to your home can’t be avoided. Review your policy to see if you have the coverage you need to protect your home when a hurricane happens.
Check with your deductible, as this is the amount you would have to pay out of pocket before your insurance provider steps in to cover the rest of the damages. Can you comfortably pay this amount out of pocket with short notice? If you can’t, you may want to talk with your insurance agent about lowering your deductible.
How TGS Insurance Can Help You Save on Hurricane Insurance
Homeowners insurance is an important basis for protecting your home and everything in it from various perils including losses that can happen during a storm. But what you might not realize is that homeowners insurance doesn’t protect you from all things life can throw your way.
When we refer to hurricane insurance, what that really means is a combination of two policies: flood and windstorm insurance. Hurricanes can bring in strong, damaging winds, as well as destructive flooding. With TGS Insurance, we automatically include a 2% wind/hail deductible into every homeowners insurance policy we write, but in order to have flood coverage, you’ll need to purchase a flood insurance policy.
There is a common misconception that flood damage is covered by homeowners insurance, but that is completely false. By purchasing a flood insurance policy you can ensure your home and personal items will be protected from storm-related flooding. The average cost for flood insurance is about $634 per year, but with TGS Insurance our customers average about $528 each year on flood insurance.
Our agents aim to find all of our customers the coverage they need for the best price on the market. From our bank of over 35 highly-rated providers, we will find you coverage that is tailored to your needs and budget. At TGS Insurance, we promise to handle everything throughout the entire process so you can have a simple and hassle-free buying experience!