Georgia is no stranger to hurricane season, whether you’re located on a coastal town or not. Even if you live more inland, heavy rains and wind from a hurricane can still cause massive destruction. So, it’s important to know how to prepare for all of the effects of a hurricane, not just the waves. Here are 10 tips on how to prepare yourself and your home insurance for hurricane season.
10 tips to prepare your house for hurricane season.
1. Know when hurricane season is.
It helps to know what to prepare for, but it can help more to know when to prepare for it. So, hurricane season in Georgia usually lasts from the beginning of June to about mid-November. That may seem like quite a long length of time for hurricanes to be pelting the shoreline, so don’t worry – the most active season for storms in the past has been during the months of July, August, and September.
2. Inspect your house’s structure.
If you haven’t inspected your house’s structure, it may be time to finally get out your tool belt. Make sure that there are no broken tiles or shingles on your roof. Keep your gutters clean so that rainwater doesn’t get backed up onto your roof to cause rot or leaks. Check your home’s indoor and outdoor walls for cracks or structural damage that could be easily compromised by a storm.
3. Trim your trees in preparation for hurricane season.
Along with your regular home maintenance and home inspection, make sure you’re maintaining the foliage around your home. Look for dead tree limbs and other plants that could cause heavy damage if they fell onto your house. Remember: your home insurance may only pay part of the costs of tree removal if it falls. So, preparing your home ahead of time will save you a lot of headache in the long run.
4. Secure outdoor structures.
If you’ve heard the phrase, “They’ll take anything that’s not nailed down,” you should probably apply it to any structures in your yard during a hurricane. Even “tame” hurricanes can carry winds over 70 mph. A strong storm can bring winds over 170 mph, which can easily blow away your child’s trampoline, playset, or a mobile shed. Those gusts can also easily blow those objects straight into your house or a neighbor’s house. So, make sure that everything in your yard, deck, patio, or porch is secure before a storm puts your outdoor fun indoors.
5. Know where the shut off valves are.
Make sure you know where all of your house’s water, power, and propane shut-off switches are. Map them out before a storm hits so that you and your family can navigate to them easily in an emergency.
6. Barricade your home.
Make sure you know how to reinforce your home properly for a hurricane. Check to see if your house is outfitted with storm windows. Stock up on pre-cut plywood to board up your exterior windows if necessary. Make sure the wood is strong enough to withstand the impact of debris. You should also keep a stock of sandbags handy to place near exterior doors; they can help absorb water that might otherwise seep under your doorways and flood your home.
7. Prepare an emergency kit.
If you’re stuck in your home without water or power, you’ll need to have a few supplies to tide you over until your next steps. Make sure you have a disaster kit that is at least stocked with:
- A battery-powered or crank radio
- Extra batteries
- 1 gallon of water per day per person for three days
- A 3-day supply of non-perishable food
- Flashlights and candles
- A first-aid kit
- A tarp and duct tape for a makeshift shelter
- A map of the area
- Baby and pet supplies, if needed
Additionally, be sure to keep your family’s important documents in a safe and dry place where you can easily access them if needed. Change out the water in your emergency kit every six months as needed. Check the expiration dates on the non-perishable food and replace the supply when necessary. You may also want to consider packing an emergency kit for your car as well.
8. Create and memorize an emergency plan.
If your area is under a storm watch, stay tuned to your local weather channel to find out if the situation escalates. If an evacuation is ordered for your area, don’t wait until the last minute to leave your home. Roads out of your town may close, and even with contraflow lanes, there may be traffic jams that can keep you in an unsafe area.
Before a storm hits, create an evacuation plan with your family. Decide on a common meeting place and make sure everyone knows how to get there. You should also know for sure where you’re evacuating to before a hurricane – whether it’s a family member’s house, a friend’s house, a hotel, or a public shelter. Choose multiple possible destinations, and make sure that they’re in different directions from your home.
Note your state’s evacuation routes and procedures, but also make sure you know how to get to your evacuation location using different paths, with and without major highways. Don’t rely on technology to get to where you’re going – print or write down directions.
9. Create a home inventory.
If worse comes to worst for your home, replacing your possessions will be a lot easier with a home inventory. A home inventory is a good idea to keep in general if you’re a homeowner, but it can also help your home insurance more accurately repair or replace the items in your home if they’re struck by a covered loss. Just make sure that your policy covers your belongings for their replacement cost value (RCV) – or the cost it would take to replace the item – and not their actual cash value (ACV) – or the depreciated value of the item.
It’s best to keep your home inventory in a place that’s secure and easily accessible. With modern technology, that can be easier than ever! Just use a cloud service or online form of documentation for your home inventory, and you’ll be able to access and update your list from anywhere. Plus, it can really help you out in case you have to file a claim.
10. Make sure you have the right insurance.
It’s also important to protect your Atlanta home with the right insurance. Get home insurance quotes by filling out our online quote form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat.