For residents of the southeastern United States, hurricane season is just a part of life. Even if you’ve been dealing with hurricanes for years, though, it is a good idea to refresh your memory about how to deal with potential hurricane damage before a major storm hits. There are dozens of different things families in the Carolinas and other Southeastern states can do to minimize the impact that hurricane damage has on their homes. Here, you’ll find six key tips that will make the next big storm less of a hassle for your household.
- Understand how flood insurance works – Most homeowners who reside in North Carolina, South Carolina, and other states that are prone to hurricane damage carry flood insurance. Typically, traditional homeowners’ insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. If you have questions about how to file a flood insurance claim, visit the National Flood Insurance Program’s website to find helpful information. In most cases, these claims must be filed within 60 days of the flood.
- Make sure windows are covered – Hurricane-force winds can cause window panes to shatter, ultimately leading to interior flooding and other damage. To avoid this, the best course of action is to cover your windows with either boards, such as plywood or 2x4s, or to invest in specialized hurricane shutters. Hurricane shutters are generally a good option for people who live in areas that tend to get battered by hurricanes at least a couple of times per year.
- Have an emergency fund – All too often, homeowners don’t think about the expenses they are likely to incur during a hurricane that won’t be covered by insurance payouts. This includes food, lodging, and other costs if evacuation is required and potentially being forced to replace personal items that do not qualify for insurance coverage. Due to this, it’s a good idea to have a hurricane emergency fund that your family can delve into if needed.
- Learn about disaster loans and FEMA support – In certain situations, homeowners and business owners whose properties have been damaged by hurricanes are eligible to receive support from various organizations. The U.S. Small Business Association offers a disaster loan program, and FEMA provides both financial and material aid. Make sure you research these options if you think you may qualify for assistance following a storm.
- Contact your insurance company promptly – Dealing with hurricane damage can be overwhelming, and it’s easy to put off calling your homeowner’s insurance agency while you handle other things. The faster you contact them, however, the faster they will be able to send an adjuster to assess your property and, ultimately, issue your payout. As a matter of fact, calling your insurance company should be one of the first things on your list after a hurricane passes.
- Have a list of contractors you trust – The best contractors in any given region quickly find themselves booked following a hurricane-force storm. To get on your preferred contractor’s schedule as soon as possible, it’s a good idea to keep a list of trustworthy professionals and their phone numbers. This way, if your computer, smartphone, or other devices are damaged, you will still be able to quickly get in touch with the home services companies you are interested in working with.
As scary as hurricanes can be, even for seasoned veterans, following these tips should make it less stressful for you and your family to return to normalcy after a bad storm. No matter how much damage your home sustains in a hurricane, the most important thing is to keep you and your loved ones safe! The team at Hatch Homes is always here to assist you after damage occurs; our goal is to make sure your home is as safe and secure as possible.