Did you know that hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through November 30 each year with the busiest time between mid-August and mid-September?
What does that mean for you? It’s time to batten down the hatches! While Georgia has not had a “direct hit” hurricane since the 1800’s, we certainly can get heavy rain, high winds, or tornadoes from the remnants of the Atlantic and Gulf coast storms. That raises an important question:
What can we do to protect our homes and families from hurricanes?
Here are a few helpful tips so that you and your family will be prepared ahead of time.
1. Prepare A Go Bag
The government suggests that each of us have a “To Go” bag that we can take with you a moments notice. Consider taking dry clothes, rain gear, important papers, flashlight, radio, batteries, etc. – anything you would need if you had to evacuate immediately.
2. Protect Your Family
Does your family have an evacuation plan in place in case of an emergency? In a family meeting, decide ahead of time where your safe rendezvous place will be in the case that your home isn’t safe anymore. Establish an emergency contact person to call out of state that everyone can call into.
3. Protect Your Property
- Inspect that roof! It is good to do an annual roof inspection to check for loose or broken roof tiles and shingles. If you live near the coast, make sure you have hurricane straps! Some people choose to invest in a wind-proof roof as it reduces their homeowner’s insurance, and may give them a tax break.
- Check those gutters! Have your gutters cleaned twice each year. This way, if hurricane rains dump a few inches of rain on the roof the gutters will not be backed up behind your shingles due to blockage. You don’t want to come home to water damage in the house, do you?
- Trim those trees! Isn’t it better to trim your trees now instead of paying insurance claims later for damaging your neighbor’s fence or breaking their windows! Remember your homeowner’s policy will only pay a portion of the cost for tree removal. Thinking ahead will save money!
- Secure all outdoor structures! While you might think a child’s swing set or a trampoline is very heavy, don’t deceive yourself. These can not only fly away during high winds, but also damage your home or your neighbor’s property. Be sure to fasten them now before an emergency raises its ugly head.
- Put away anything not nailed down! Think about what could go flying away at 75 mph! Put away garbage pals, BBQ’s, lawn furniture, hanging plants, etc.
- Shut off valves! Do you know where all of the shut-off valves are for your utilities and propane tanks? Map them out now before an emergency happens.
- Board up your home! Do you have storm windows or pre-cut plywood? These will protect your home and personal items in case of flying debris.
- Have a clean supply of fresh water available! Have bottled water for drinking and cooking. Fill the tubs and 5-gallon buckets with water in case you need to bathe or flush toilets.
Hurricanes will bring floods with them in the aftermath. Sadly, the majority of people mistakenly think that their homeowner’s policy will protect them from flood damage. The truth is that the only insurance to protect your home is flood insurance issued by the government.
Have you done a home inventory yet?
When you combine hurricane winds plus torrential downpours you have the makings of a homeowner’s claim. Doesn’t it make sense to prepare now by doing a home inventory of all of your valuables? Nobody is in the frame of mind to do this during or after a catastrophe, so take a few hours this weekend and begin your home inventory. Remember you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, so here are a few home inventory app ideas you can try.
Hurricanes and storm damage are a fact of life. While nobody wants them, you certainly can not deny the forces of mother nature, can you? We hope these tips and suggestions will be helpful to you. Please remember that the staff at insurancehub.com is standing by to help you protect and insure your Georgia home during the next Hurricane warning.