If you've purchased a home in an area prone to hurricanes, the coming of storm season can be a stressful time. But one valuable way to reduce that stress is to prepare your property ahead of time. This will help you face hurricane season with confidence and a plan. If you're in this position, here are 4 key things to do to prep your property for an onslaught.
Care for Trees. One of the biggest threats to your home and physical property during a hurricane is from the trees surrounding it. Start with smaller trees and shrubs, trimming off old, damaged, broken, or dying limbs. For larger trees, work with a professional landscaping service to determine if your trees are all healthy and solid. Have any seriously damaged or dead trees removed by professionals as soon as possible. If you have concerns about neighboring trees, you may want to offer to split with neighbors the cost of repairing or removing any potentially dangerous ones.
Storm-Proof Your Home. There are a few easy ways to make your home stronger in the face of storms. Hurricane straps or clips, for example, can help fasten the house's roof to its frame. Storm shutters or other window covers can make preparation much easier when it comes time. Test the quality of outbuildings and hardscaping — such as sheds, garages, car ports, and porches — to ensure that they are well-built and solidly attached to either the home or a foundation. Caulk around doors and windows to prevent rain damage.
Assess Your Coverage. Talk to your insurance agent about whether your homeowner's insurance is sufficient to cover your current belongings. In addition, determine what types of storm damage are covered (such as wind and flooding) and which are not. Most homeowner's policies don't cover flooding, so consider purchasing additional insurance for this common storm result. While you're thinking about coverage, take an inventory of your home and belongings — including some pictures — to use if anything is damaged.
Stock Up. The best time to plan for waiting out a hurricane is before it hits the news. So, spend some time as a family coming up with a plan for weathering a storm or evacuating. Stock up on nonperishable supplies, chargers, batteries, water, and a small generator. If your region is prone to flooding, consider buying a sump pump for low-lying areas. By having these items handy and in place, you'll avoid a rushed panic when a storm is on the way.
By planning ahead when the weather is good, you'll be more ready when the weather does turn sour. And then, no matter whether you stay or leave, you'll have the confidence of knowing that your home is ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at it.