Hurricane season starts June 1, and an above-normal season is expected, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAH). NOAA is predicting a 60% chance of an above-normal season. What does this mean? The forecast is for 13 to 19 named storms. Six to 10 named hurricanes could develop from those storms, and three to six of those hurricanes could be category 3 or higher.
All this means that if you haven’t prepared, it’s time to do so. Here’s how to protect your home and family during hurricane season.
How to Protect Your Home During Hurricane Season
It’s essential to have a plan in place for your home and your family in the event of a hurricane. Here are a few ways you can protect your home:
- Take a home inventory: It’s important to do this as soon as possible, so you’re prepared. Even if you’re home isn’t impacted by a hurricane, having a home inventory will help with any property insurance claim. Here are a few ways to inventory:
- In general, describe the item and where you bought it, along with the make and model. Note any items with significant value.
- Write down the serial number for electronics.
- If you have expensive items, like art or jewelry, evaluate whether your current insurance coverage is enough.
- Consider doing a video or photo inventory first, then working on a paper inventory. During the video inventory, go room to room and describe the contents.
- Review your insurance policies: Standard homeowners policies don’t cover flooding. If you don’t have a flood insurance policy, consider buying one now. The waiting period for the national flood insurance program is 30 days from purchase; however, private flood insurance policies may take effect in as little as 10-14 days.
- Download a copy of your insurance policies: Keep it in an accessible place or in cloud drive for easier access.
Here are a few ways to protect your family:
- Gather supplies: Have supplies to last at least 72 hours, including water (one gallon per person per day), food for you and your pets, and medication. You should also have face coverings for everyone in case you need to evacuate to a shelter. FEMA has a complete supply list you can download here.
- Keep your phone charged: If a storm is expected, charge your phone, and consider investing in a portable charger.
- Learn your local evacuation routes: Plan for how you’ll get your household to safety.
- Download the FEMA app: You should also sign up for community alerts in your area.
After the Storm
After the storm, take pictures of your home and the surrounding area. Don’t throw away anything that’s damaged; store it for the insurance company to inspect. Save receipts from any repairs or cost you incur. Your insurance company must respond to your communications within 14 days and make a decision about your claim within 90 days of when you file your claim.
If you’re not sure whether you’re being treated fairly, or if your insurance company is following the required guidelines for handling your claim, Danahy + Murray can help. We provide legal counsel to those who have been mistreated by their insurance company.