Hurricane Home Preparation: Physical & Financial Strategies

Are you and your family ready for hurricane season 2024? Preparing your home for hurricane season in Florida involves taking physical measures to safeguard your property ahead of time – as well as engaging in financial planning to help you manage potential costs.

 

Read on for specific hurricane prep tips you can use right now. And don’t forget to download the latest Florida Peninsula Insurance Company hurricane guide, which you can flip through like a magazine on your phone or laptop. It covers everything you’ll need to know to survive the season, from A to Z. 

Inspect & Repair Your Home

 

Take a mindful walk through your home, looking for signs of problems likely to only get worse without repair. Fix these issues as soon as possible – and certainly before intense wind, rain, and lightning can worsen the problem.

 

Windows and Doors

 

Ensure all windows and doors are secure, have sufficient caulking around the frame, and don't allow water to seep in when it rains. Consider installing hurricane-resistant windows and doors if you don't already have them. Alternatively, storm shutters are a must, whether they are the permanently installed type or temporary panels you put up before a storm.

 

Roof

 

Perform a visual inspection of your roof for loose or missing shingles/tiles and areas where caulking has retreated or disappeared altogether. Fix or repair the issues you find. Consider having your roof professionally inspected; a wind mitigation inspection can tell you whether your roof is as secure as it could be, and what other hurricane prep measures your home may need.

 

You may even qualify for a free inspection and matching grant (up to $10,000) to help pay for recommended upgrades through My Safe Florida Home, a state program designed to help Florida homeowners strengthen their homes against hurricanes. Applications will be accepted from older, low-income homeowners beginning July 1, 2024 – and all homeowners can apply beginning Aug. 31, 2024.

 

Making the recommended hurricane prep home upgrades can lower the cost of your home insurance. In addition, you have until the end of June 2024 to enjoy the current sales tax holiday on impact-resistant windows and doors, including garage doors.

 

Gutters

 

It’s important to keep your gutters clear of clogs to ensure rainwater can flow, unencumbered, away from your home. This is true year-round in Florida – and especially during hurricane season. Failure to clear your gutters can result in:

 

  • Water seeping under roof shingles/tiles and potentially leaking into the attic
  • Excessive pooling of water around the base of your home, leading to foundation problems
  • Growth of mold and mildew
  • Rotting and deterioration of house siding
  • Erosion of landscaping
  • A breeding ground for mosquitos and other pests

 

Trees and Landscaping

 

Keep your trees and shrubs trimmed to help them withstand strong winds. Remove some interior branches, which will allow the wind to pass through the tree more easily. Also remove weak or diseased branches, as well as any branches extending over your home. Do this early, preferably before hurricane season starts. Don't wait until a storm is approaching to trim your trees because the branches, cuttings, and other debris from the trimming may not be be picked up with your garbage before the storm arrives – in which case, the branches and sticks could become dangerous airborne projectiles.

 

Have a Disaster Preparedness Plan

 

Decide how you and your family will stay safe and communicate during an emergency. You'll want to include potential evacuation routes (identify at least two), establish a meeting place away from your home should you become separated, and compile contact info for a family member or friend outside the area. Plan to take pets with you if you evacuate. Remember: If it's not safe for you to stay, it's not safe for them, either.

 

Create an Emergency Kit

 

The beginning of hurricane season is a good time to review the supplies you’ll need to ride out a hurricane and its aftermath. You’ll want to stock up on those items you’re low on. Your hurricane prep supplies should include, at the very least, water (1 gallon per person, for at least 3 days), nonperishable food, flashlights, a battery- or hand-crank powered radio, extra batteries, first aid kit, medications, and pet supplies.

 

And a Go-Bag, Too!

 

This is critical should you need to evacuate. It’s a smaller, lighter, and portable version of the hurricane prep supplies kept in your home. Your go-bag should include your most important documents – such as your ID, passport, insurance policy – in a waterproof bag, as well as a toothbrush and toothpaste, wet wipes, sunscreen, insect repellent, bottled water, protein bars, soap, shampoo, personal hygiene products, a whistle, and more. 

 

Review Your Home Insurance

 

Before we get too much further into hurricane season, make sure your current homeowners insurance policy is up to date.

 

Have there been significant purchases or additions/renovations to the home since the policy was purchased? You may need to increase coverage limits so you're protected in full.

 

What about flood insurance? Flooding commonly occurs with hurricanes – and even without a storm! Lots of rainfall in a short period of time, or a problem with drainage can result in flooding around your home any time of year. Flood insurance can cover these occurrences. It’s critical to understand property damage due to rising waters is NOT covered under the standard homeowners insurance policy.

 

Document Your Possessions

 

Keep a record of your belongings – and take photos or a video of it all before a storm. A home inventory like this can streamline the claims process, should your personal property be damaged or lost in a hurricane. By updating your inventory each year, you can see when you may need to update your insurance coverage (after the purchase of big-ticket items, for example). Store the inventory in a safe, waterproof location, as well as electronically so you’ll have easy access to it via the cloud if you need it.

 

Home Improvements Can Save You Money

 

If you’re wondering whether to make certain hurricane prep home upgrades now or later, it’s worth asking your Florida Peninsula insurance agent whether you may be entitled to a reduction in insurance costs with the upgrade. This might include projects such as installing hurricane-resistant doors and windows or retrofitting the roof. Your insurance savings may help offset some of the costs involved in fortifying your home to better withstand hurricanes.

 

Create an Emergency Fund

 

Ideally, this is a separate account you’ve contributed to over time. While 10 years ago may have been the best time to create such a fund, the second-best time is right now.

 

Your emergency fund could be used to make home repairs, hurricane prep upgrades, or to cover a few weeks of living expenses (e.g., hotel, gas, food) in case you have to evacuate your home before or after a hurricane.

 

Hurricane Prep Is Just Part of Life in Florida

 

By taking your hurricane preparations seriously, you can better protect your home and family during hurricane season in Florida. This includes tackling the physical tasks necessary to strengthen your home against storms, as well as adopting financial strategies to help pay for expenses along the way.

 

To review your Florida Peninsula Insurance Company policy, contact your agent. If you’re not yet insured by Florida Peninsula, get started exploring your coverage options with an online quote.

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