Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, costing an estimated $65 billion in insured losses. Today that would be about $87 billion. It’s the costliest hurricane on record. Although rare, hurricanes can make landfall in California, too. More likely, we will see the remnants from hurricanes and tropical storms impacting our homes and businesses through wind, heavy rainfall, and debris. While many people may know what to do on a basic level, there are several things you can do now, as the storm approaches, and during the storm to protect your home from as much hurricane damage as possible.
Before the Storm
Although we can predict hurricanes well before they make landfall, it is never a bad idea to start preparing before they hit the radar. There are several things you can do in advance to make sure you protect your home as much as possible before the storm arrives.
Consider Flood Insurance
The first thing to do is consider purchasing flood insurance. Unfortunately, most basic homeowners or renters insurance does not cover flood damage. It’s something that needs to be purchased separately. The rate on your flood insurance depends on a number of factors including flood zone, location of home and structural design. Some locations will require you to have flood insurance while others do not. It is something to consider when you live in an area easily affected by flooding from hurricanes or tropical storms.
Make Some Home Improvements
The second thing you can do is to make some home improvements, making your home more resistant to hurricane damage:
- Replace all gravel with shredded bark or another lighter material. This will protect your home and people from flying rocks when a storm comes through.
- Make sure your home is equipped with wind-rated doors and garage doors.
- Seal outside wall openings so water can’t get through.
Inventory your Belongings
It’s a good idea to keep an updated list of your belongings and their value. This helps with insurance and makes this process easier when trying to remember everything later. You can start this project today, and keep up with it as you add more things to your home. You can always set a time each month to go through and verify your list is up to date.
As the Storm Approaches
Because hurricanes and tropical storms are predicted days in advance, you have time to do some last minute planning before it hits. These things help further protect your home from hurricane damage, and help you be more prepared for when the storm makes landfall.
Covering all doors and windows is the first thing you should do. This is easily done with plywood nailed to the outside of your home. Protecting your home reduces the chance for broken glass in your home and reduces repair cost after the storm blows through. Be sure to add some extra inches on each side. Federal Alliance for Safe Homes recommends adding a four inch overlap for windows.
Secondly, clearing your yard of any decorations or furniture can reduce possible damages. Move all loose items like outdoor furniture, toys, etc. inside. Secure gutters and trim tree limbs as well. All of these items can become a big problem as the wind picks up and begins to throw these items toward homes and people.
During the Storm
Preparing yourself and your family for a lack of power and electricity is the most helpful thing you can do to protect your home from hurricane damage. This helps reduce damages to your home and power system. The biggest threat during a storm such as a hurricane is power surges and lightning strikes. Turning off your power before the storm can help reduce the chance of these things. However, you do not want to turn off the power to your home if it requires you to stand in water to reach the power box.
Evacuation plans and emergency kits are a necessity for areas where hurricanes impact, but there are steps you can take to reduce damage to your home. Any of these preparatory steps can be done now, as the storm approaches, and during the storm. There is no way to predict whether we will experience Hurricane Katrina level damage, but why not prepare just in case? If a storm impacts your home or business, JGB Restoration is here to help you pick up the pieces. Give us a call!