Preparing for a Storm
Understand Your Coverage
Review your homeowner's policy ahead of time to ensure you understand your coverage in the event of a hurricane and/or flood.
Hurricane hazards come in many forms, including storm surge, heavy rainfall, inland flooding, high winds, tornadoes, and rip currents. Floods, whether accompanied by a hurricane or not, can happen quickly and affect large areas.
The only way to protect your home from floodwaters is to purchase flood insurance. Homeowner's insurance does not cover flood damage. Contact your agent to see if you live in a flood hazard area and to learn more about flood insurance.
Homeowner's insurance policies provide coverage for valuables, up to certain limits. For maximum protection, you should have jewelry, furs, silverware, and other valuables appraised, then scheduled separately to your policy. You’ll get the broadest coverage possible, with no deductible. Ask your agent for more information.
Take an inventory of your personal property. Document this inventory with a video or photographs. Store this information and other important documents in a safe-deposit box as well as online.
Learn how to create a home inventory list here.
Prepare Ahead of Time
Keep a list of emergency contact information for reference:
Local Emergency Management Office
County Law Enforcement, Public Safety Fire/Rescue
State, County and City/Town Government
Local Hospitals, Utilities, American Red Cross, TV Stations, and Radio Stations
Your Insurance Agent
Ask an out-of-town friend or relative to be your “family contact.” After a disaster, anyone not at home should check in with the contact person.
Install hurricane shutters or pre-cut 3/4-inch plywood shutters on each window of your house.
Close shutters and board up or tape windows.
Cut tree branches that could break windows and enter your home.
Turn refrigerators and freezers to coldest settings and don’t open the doors unless necessary.
If evacuating, lock the windows and doors of your home before leaving and turn off all utilities.
Bring outside objects like patio furniture or toys into the house or a secured garage.
Secure large items, such as boats or swing sets, to the ground.
Fill your car with gas.
Assemble Disaster Supplies
First aid supplies, including sterile gauze pads, scissors, bandages, tweezers, antiseptic spray, latex gloves and a bar of antibacterial soap
Prescription and non-prescription medicines, including non-prescription pain relievers, antacids, eyewash, rubbing alcohol, and medicine to induce vomiting in the event of a poisoning
Battery-operated radio with extra batteries
Flashlight and extra batteries
Cash or traveler’s checks
Spare clothes and sturdy shoes for each family member
Sleeping bags and a tent
Toilet paper and other personal hygiene items
Special items required for babies or pets, bottled water, and non-perishable items
Just Before The Storm
Turn off circuit breakers.
Close all doors and secure all windows.
Fill bathtubs with water to be used for hygiene and cleaning after the storm.
Review safety information and alerts from the National Weather Service.
Know what to do and plan ahead in the case of an evacuation.
After The Storm
Listen to the radio or news reports to determine when it is safe to leave.
Be alert for tornadoes.
Stay away from floodwaters.
Boil tap water before drinking or cooking, or use bottled water.
Dispose of spoiled food immediately. If you have insurance coverage for spoiled food, document your loss.
Keep circuit breakers turned off until all power has been restored.
Stay away from power lines.
Use a flashlight. Do not light matches or turn on electrical switches.
Once power is restored, investigate for electrical system damage. Turn off the electricity if you find frayed wires, detect a burning smell or suspect any other problems.
Check for gas leaks. If you detect a leak, leave the building immediately and turn off the gas at the main valve outside, if possible. Notify the gas company at once.
Check to see that sewer and water lines are functioning properly. If you detect a problem, do not run the tap or flush the toilet. Contact a plumber.
Watch for holes in the floor, loose boards or hanging plaster.
Get The Most Out Of Your Coverage
Take an inventory of any damaged property or possessions. Do not dispose of any items without the prior approval of your insurance claims adjuster.
Keep a written record of everyone you talk to about your insurance claim, including the date of the conversation and a summary of what was said.
Hold off on permanent repairs until you’ve received approval for reimbursement.
Keep all receipts.