Hurricane season is here. Whether you live along the coast or inland, these sometimes-violent storms can result in significant damage to your home. With the proper preparation, you can minimize the impact of these natural disasters.
Before the Storm
What you do before the storm can make all the difference in preserving your property and your life.
Have an Evacuation Plan
You should formulate a plan well in advance of hurricane season. Your plan should include:
- One or more routes you will take in the event you have to evacuate the area
- Directions to the nearest shelter location
- A list of emergency phone numbers that’s also been entered into your cell phone
- Contact information for pet shelters or sitters if you have pets
- Microchipping and updated pet tags
Get the Supplies You’ll Need
It’s important to be prepared in the event that you and your family are without transportation, food, or water. You’ll want to include the following items on your emergency shopping list:
- Canned, preserved, and non-perishable food
- At least one gallon of water per person per day
- Sufficient medicine
- Flashlights and other power sources in the event of power outages
- Wills, personal ID, and other important documents
- A fire extinguisher
- Tools and materials for emergency repair, such as plywood, nails, and a hammer
Any emergency supply of food, water, and medication should last each member of your family for three days.
Prepare Your Home
There are several tasks you’ll want to accomplish inside and outside your home beforehand to protect it from hurricane-force winds.
- Unplug all electronics and appliances to protect from damaging electrical surges.
- Conduct a detailed inventory of your belongings for insurance purposes.
- Contact your insurance company to verify flood insurance
- Comparison shop for a generator if you don’t have one.
- Test your drains and sump pump.
- Secure or store any items, including your lawn furniture and garage door, which may be transported by hurricane winds.
- Look for any weaknesses in windows, doors, and areas where pipes enter and correct them to prevent water from entering.
- Build or buy storm shutters and install them.
- Survey and cut any weak trees and branches that could fall during high hurricane winds.
- Check exterior doors to confirm there’s hurricane proofing and at least three hinges and deadbolt locks of at least one inch in length.
- Clean gutters and drains so that storm water can flow freely and safely away from your home.
After the Storm
Once the storm has passed and any dangers around your home have been eliminated, it’s important to inspect your property for damages, including outbuildings and watercraft. This can include checking:
- Structure roofs for missing shingles and other wind damage
- Windows for breaks, cracks, and interior leaks
- Doors and windows for signs of vandalism
- Washing machines, faucets, and other appliances for proper operation
- Refrigerators for proper temperature
- Watercraft coverings for signs of wind or water damage
- Watercraft motors for proper operation
Solutions for Second Homes
The above is great advice for homeowners, but what if you are a homeowner who lives elsewhere and your second or vacation home is located in a hurricane-prone area like Florida?
Call a Friend or Neighbor
The first thing that may come to mind is to contact someone you know that lives near your property. However, if their property has also sustained hurricane damage, they’ll likely be busy inspecting their own home and gathering information for insurance claims.
Hire a Home Watch Service
Unlike a neighbor who may be too busy with their own property damage, a home watch service can provide far more help. Trained professionals conduct a detailed survey of your property to check for damages, and then will notify you right away.
What to Look For in a Home Watch Service
There are many home watch services available to you, which can make it difficult to know which is the best to choose. Here are important characteristics to look for in a home watch service.
The Right Training and Sufficient Experience
Any person who is inspecting your home for damage must, of course, know what they’re doing. This involves having received the proper training and completing enough hours in the field to gain the specific experience required.
Bonding and Coverage
You shouldn’t have to worry about any person who will be inspecting the interior and exterior of your property. Bonding and insurance coverage protect you from risk, and should be included with any home watch service.
While most companies use text and email to confirm inspections, The Concierge Home Watch Management service takes it a step further.
We use the latest technology to generate a unique QR code just for your property. It can only be activated when one of our home watch inspectors arrives at your home with their comprehensive 30-point checklist. When the inspection is completed, our GPS software notifies you immediately.
You also receive a detailed report of your inspection that you can send directly to your homeowner’s insurance company. The Concierge Home Watch Management helps ensure that you leave your first or second home with confidence. To learn more about the many ways we can protect your home, visit us online or call 941-348-1359.