Hurricane Season – Homeowners Insurance Tips and News Fri, 28 Jun 2013 15:01:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Category 5 Preparedness Fri, 01 Jun 2012 19:56:58 +0000 Hurricane season is just upon us and if the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that hurricanes can cause serious damage if you are not prepared for them. The best way to prevent serious damage to your home or loss of life or danger to your family is to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safest, securest environment possible prior to a hurricane’s arrival.

Checklist and Family Plan

The American Red Cross posted a checklist of things to do and collect in preparation for a hurricane. Among the items listed is a reminder to take care of all things loose: doors, windows, shutters, and items on the lawn (like tools, bikes, toys, etc).

It is also important to stock up on things like canned goods, bottled water, and gasoline. The Red Cross also suggests turning the fridge and freezer to the highest settings to keep food cold longer in the event that the power goes out.

One of the most important ways your family can be prepared for an emergency such as a hurricane is to sit down and write up a plan or strategy for evacuation. Make sure each member of the family or house clearly understands the plan and practices acting it out. Locate the safest room in the house and keep a supply of new batteries and at least one flashlight in the room along with a battery powered radio.

Emergency Kit

Keeping an emergency kit stocked and located in an easy-to-reach location is one preparation that is often overlooked. Along with the basic first-aid components, you will want to include spare batteries, a multipurpose tool, hand sanitizer, extra house and car keys, bug spray, a map of the immediate area, disposable camera (in case of photographing damage), and a list of emergency contact numbers.

For stocking food and water, keep at least three days’ worth in a safe location. There should be a minimum of one gallon of water per person for each day and the food should be easy to prepare (minimal or no cooking needed) and non-perishable. Canned soups and stews are a great commodity and can be used for both lunch and dinner.


In the case of any impending emergency, always tune into the radio for updates and warnings on the status of an incoming storm or risk of any other natural disaster. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is the highest rated weather service in terms of accuracy and timely updates. They offer weather updates online, via podcasts, and on the radio at seven different frequencies via the NOAA Weather Radio (NWR).

When listening to weather updates and warnings, it’s important to note the difference between a “hurricane watch” and a “hurricane warning.” A watch means that conditions will be threatening within 48 hours. When you hear this update, begin your preparation plans immediately and stay tuned to the radio for more information regarding the storm.

A hurricane warning is issued when the conditions are expected within 36 hours. If evacuations are being called for in your area, this is the point in which you will want to leave. Otherwise, finish up your preparations and retreat to the safe zone in the house. Keep the radio with you to stay posted on further storm conditions.

Disaster Relief

Supposing you evacuate your house out of necessity and return to find the area ravaged by the storm, you will want to contact a hurricane relief center as soon as possible to report the damage. But first, check with your insurance company to see how much they cover. Since many insurance policies exclude flood damage, that might be something with which FEMA or another disaster relief group could assist. For a full list of relief groups, check out

If you have evacuated the area and intend to return, there are a couple things you should be aware of before you travel. For one thing, check the route back home for flooding or damage. Planning detours in advance can save a lot of drive time and gas. Pay close attention to bridges or low areas as these are the most common areas for flooding.

Power lines and trees are notoriously found on the road following severe storms so use caution and drive slower where visibility is limited. Upon returning to your house, check for leaking gas pipes and structural damage before entering. Take photos of any damage for insurance and relief purposes.

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Rock You like a Hurricane Wed, 14 Jul 2010 14:15:07 +0000 As the Scorpions are out on their final tour, wowing audiences with their last chances to hear the iconic “Rock You Like a Hurricane” played live, those who live on the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts of the United States are gearing up for hurricane season. And unlike the legendary German rockers’ song, there’s nothing entertaining about being rocked by a real hurricane. While everyone hopes that one never hits close to their home, having a plan and good homeowners insurance can help you weather the storm if one ever does.

Here are some things to keep in mind as we move into hurricane season:

  • Hurricane season starts at the beginning of June and lasts through the end of November, encompassing about half of the year. If you live near the coast, you should have an evacuation plan in place. Don’t wait until the police are knocking at your door to figure out what you’re going to do and where you’re going to go.
  • One thing every coastal homeowner should have on hand is plywood. When a bad hurricane is on its way, it’s not uncommon for there to be a rush on the lumber yards, and some people might end up doing without. It’s better to have some on hand in case you need it. The plywood is for protecting your windows, of course, and you should have enough to cover all of your windows, especially those that are on the coastal side of your home.
  • If you have pets, make sure you have a pet cage. The last thing you need to be worried about with a CAT 4 hurricane blowing in is where in the world Fido ran off to. Keep your pets with you so you will know where they are in case you need to evacuate. It’s a good idea to keep your kids close, too, though child protective service frowns on putting them in cages.
  • Make sure you have plenty of fresh water on hand. You should have enough to last several days, in case you were to be stranded. You should also have food that stores well and can be eaten without cooking.
  • Know ahead of time what you would want to pack, and have enough boxes or bags on hand to carry it. Of course, if you’re hit with a hurricane bad enough that you need to evacuate, you’ll be limited in how much you can take, but it’s still best to have a plan concerning what you would want to grab and where it should go.
  • Know where you would go. And make sure the people who live there know that’s where you would go. Fleeing from a hurricane is not the time to start thinking about where you might be able to find shelter.
  • Finally, make sure you know what your homeowners insurance covers, should your home be damaged. Many policies don’t include certain types of storm damage, especially flooding, and you might want to consider taking out some additional coverage – preferably before you need it.

Photo via dimsis

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