7 Ways You Should Prepare for a Hurricane
The return of football season, unfortunately, coincides with peak hurricane season.
We know you have a lot going on in your regular life, and we’re betting that you haven’t thought much about your homeowners insurance policy. This is the best time, however, to learn more about how your home is covered during an inclement event like a hurricane and what you can do now to prepare for an emergency.
How to Prepare for a Hurricane
1. Create a full inventory of your home and possessions, including pictures and video.
Yes, this seems like a lot of work, but using your phone to take pictures and videos is an easy way to document items in case you need to file a claim to replace something. There are many steps to creating an inventory, but here are some required steps:
- Describe each item, where you bought it, and the make and model
- List serial numbers for each item
- Keep receipts, if possible
2. Store your pictures in the cloud.
We recommend storing these photos in the cloud so you can access them anywhere/anytime. You will want and need easy access to those pictures while you work with either your insurance company or your HOA (more on this in a moment). You can’t do that if you didn’t store your photos and videos online.
3. Ask your homeowners’ association (HOA) what they cover.
If you own a townhouse or condo, then your HOA might be responsible for any repairs to the exterior of your building. Before a storm hits, it’s worth reviewing your HOA covenants and asking a representative what they’re responsible for regarding an inclement weather event and the process for starting repairs if you need them. This is especially helpful as you review your insurance policy because you don’t need to add coverage for something your HOA already protects.
4. Talk to your agent about your hurricane deductible.
Your homeowner’s policy should have hurricane coverage. When was the last time you asked an agent what that deductible is? Do you know by how much you’d increase your premium if you decided to increase your coverage? If you can lower your deductible for only a few extra bucks, then it might be worth securing that additional peace of mind. Regardless, talking to your agent will help you understand what your policy covers.
5. Ask your agent what events are excluded from your policy.
While most policies cover events like hurricanes, they don’t cover flooding damage or sewer backups to your home—two occurrences that have a higher chance of happening as the result of a hurricane. Depending on where you live, you might not need flood insurance. Still, it’s critical that you understand what events your policy does not exclude before those events actually happen.
6. Consider adding Additional Living Expenses to your plan.
ALE can cover items such as hotel bills and restaurant meals while you have to live somewhere else as your home is being repaired. An ALE policy limit can be 20 percent of the insurance coverage on the structure of your home. Make sure you ask about the time limits on the policy and how it covers your lost income if you rent out part of your home.
7. Know where you’ll stay and what you’ll need to take with you.
If you have to relocate as a result of a hurricane, then your safety is your top priority. Make a plan so you know where you’ll go, how you’ll get food and gas, and what your budget will be during that time. We also recommend making a list of the items you’ll need, including:
- Important documents (Social Security cards, birth certificates)
- Cash (don’t count on all local ATMs operating if there’s been property damage)
- Bottled water
- Nonperishable groceries
- Pet food
- First Aid kit
- Flashlight and Batteries
- Solar-powered radio
- Cell phone and charger (portables are a great idea!)
- Laptop or tablet (so you can access your cloud-based photos and stay in touch with your insurance company)
If you wait until the last minute to decide what you’ll need, then there’s a good chance you’ll forget something important.
Learn More about Protecting Your Home
Having a great plan makes your life easier during hard times. A Dan Thompson Agent can walk you through all of your insurance coverage options to give you peace of mind. Make that call now before a hurricane comes your way. It will save you lots of headaches later. Call us at (919) 944-4201, or get a quote to see how we can best protect your home during this uncertain time.