On average, hurricanes cause $21.5 billion worth of damage. Hence, it’s important to take the necessary steps to secure your property when the hurricane season strikes. If not, you’ll end up with an uninhabitable home and an eye-watering repair bill due to wind and water damage.
If your property is in South Florida, the hurricane season is from June to November. Take the time to prepare your property by following the tips below:
#1 Create a Hurricane Preparedness Plan
It’s crucial to create a hurricane preparedness plan so that you and your family can stay coordinated in case of a disaster. Discuss with your household the details of what to do when disaster strikes, like where to go, who to call, and so on. The to-dos should be in as much detail as possible and should be written down step-by-step. People tend to panic in times of natural calamities, so it’s important to ensure that the preparedness plan is easy to understand.
As a rule of thumb, your preparedness plan should describe what to do before, during, and after the storm. For example:
Before the Storm
- Test the generators to make sure they’re in good working order.
- Purchase a portable, battery-powered radio.
- Purchase flood insurance if needed.
- Carry cash on hand in small denominations.
- Board up the doors and windows.
- Trim the trees surrounding the property.
- Transfer all of the outdoor furniture indoors.
During the Storm
- Listen to the news for information on forced evacuations.
- Stay away from doors and windows.
- Hide in the lowest level of the home, or an interior room.
- Coordinate with your property management company.
After the Storm
- Stay away from downed power lines.
- Carefully inspect the safe parts of the house, while staying away from floodwaters, if any.
- Be on the lookout for structural problems.
- Document the damage done to the property.
If you don’t know what to put in your preparedness plan or checklist, work with a South Florida property management firm that does.
#2 Review Your Insurance Policy
Plan for the worst-case scenario. If your house does get destroyed, will your insurance be able to cover the costs of repairs? Can you count on it completely or will you have to pay out of pocket? It would be wise to review your homeowner’s insurance to find out if you need to add to your premium.
As a rule of thumb, your homeowner’s insurance should be enough to rebuild the home from the ground up. It should not be based on the market value, but on the replacement cost value (RCV).
A property management company can determine the replacement cost of your property. They can determine how much you realistically need so you don’t overpay for your homeowner’s insurance, either.
#3 Buy Flood Insurance
The standard homeowner’s insurance does not include damage due to flooding, so it would be in your best interests to buy additional flood insurance. Hurricanes tend to come with strong rain that causes floods that can sweep through towns. You can count on your insurance for wind-related damage, but it doesn’t have your back when it comes to damage due to floodwaters. This is particularly true if your property is in a flood-prone area, such as South Florida.
The solution is simple – buy flood insurance. You’ll probably have to pay about $700 a year, but it’s a worthwhile expense. Floods can cause extreme damage, so it’s best to be insured in case floodwaters enter your home.
#4 Prepare Your Property
There’s a long list of things you need to do to prepare your property for the stormy season.
- Clean the yard. Hurricanes can carry winds that are as strong as 130-156 mph. Make sure that your backyard is free from furniture that could be blown away by the storm. Get them into a storage shed.
- Board up the windows and doors. Use pieces of plywood to board the window frames. You can also use storm shutters to keep your property safe from shattered glass that’ll likely get swept away in your direction.
- Switch off the power. It’s better to be safe than sorry – be sure to turn off the power, especially if there’s floodwater.
- Clean the gutters. Redirect the flow of water away from the home. Make sure that the gutters are free from any dirt or debris so that the water can freely flow down. This is also one way to prevent mold growth.
- Check for leaks. The doors, windows, and walls are vulnerable to leaks, so be sure to seal them or recaulk them before the storm strikes. This will prevent rainwater from penetrating your property during the heavy rains.
- Trim trees. Trim overgrown trees with branches that are near your home. Branches that are too close to the structure will rub against it and rip its siding apart. You may also want to re-grade your trees to strengthen the roots’ “grip”.
- Install window shutters. It’s important to secure your home, especially with window shutters. Wooden boards are an alternative, but they’re not the better alternative. Window shutters aren’t cheap, but they really can secure your house.
#5 Always Be Ready to Evacuate
If the local authorities tell you to evacuate, then leave your home immediately. You won’t have time to gather your belongings, so it would be best to prepare an emergency bag that you can “grab and go”. Do not stay home to attempt to protect your property.
As a rule of thumb, you should bring only the belongings that you really need. This includes your smartphone, medicine, ID, passport, and paper money.
If it’s too dangerous to leave, stay put. Go to the upper levels and stay away from windows or anything that might get ripped apart.
If you own pets, it would be best to leave them with a trustworthy friend for now. Do this before the hurricane hits, otherwise, you may not have time to drive to your friend’s house and leave your furry friends there.
Let Our Professional Property Managers Help In Hurricane Preparedness
Luxury Property Care’s property managers are experts when it comes to disaster preparedness. Partner with us today and we’ll help you prepare a tailor-made hurricane plan that’ll keep you and your family safe from the storm.