If you live in the Carolinas, especially on the coast, you’ve probably experienced your fair share of hurricane scares. No matter how many hurricane-force storms you go through, though, the prospect of dealing with damage to your home never gets easier. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to make the process of handling residential hurricane damage as stress-free as possible. This guide showcases six key things homeowners can do to make the next bad storm easier to deal with.
- Put a coin in your freezer – Sometimes, families in the Carolinas have to evacuate during hurricanes. If this happens to you, you won’t necessarily know if the power in your home goes out while you’re gone. A great way to determine if the food in your refrigerator is still good is to keep a coin on top of a cup of frozen water in the freezer section of the appliance. If the coin is at the bottom of the cup when you get home, it means your food has likely gone bad.
- Let your flood insurance company know – Flooding is one of the most common problems Carolina homeowners face during hurricanes. Because flood insurance is required to be carried separately from homeowner’s insurance, it is essential for you to remember to notify the insurance company of any water damage. Generally, policyholders have sixty days to report flooding.
- Call a contractor right away – In the days following hurricanes, the best North Carolina and South Carolina general contractors typically fill their schedules quickly. If your home needs repairs and you don’t call your preferred professional right away, you run the risk of having to wait weeks or months for availability. Make a point of contacting the home improvement expert you want to hire as soon as you can, even if your homeowner’s insurance agency hasn’t sent an assessor yet. Just make that fact known when you schedule a consultation with your contractor.
- File your homeowner’s insurance claim – It is imperative to file your homeowner’s insurance claim immediately following any hurricane. This process is significantly easier than it once was, with most companies allowing their policyholders to file claims directly online or via smartphone apps. As a matter of fact, if you have to evacuate, you may even be able to file on the web while you’re away and upload any necessary photos and documents later. This will at least get the process started.
- Look into disaster loans – The U.S. Small Business Administration offers disaster loans that homeowners, renters, and business owners are all eligible to apply for. You should, however, be aware that you will need to meet specific requirements in order to qualify. To learn more about the criteria you need to meet, visit the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website.
- Set money aside in the interim – during the months of the year that are not considered hurricane season, it is wise for Carolina families to set aside money that can be used to cover expenses during future evacuations. In all likelihood, you will have to pay for food, lodging, and other costs associated with leaving your home for a period of time. Knowing that you have an emergency fund will give you invaluable peace of mind.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you better understand the steps you can take to prepare your household for hurricane season in the Carolinas. The more time and effort you put into getting things in order, the less difficult it will be for your family to rebound if your home is damaged during the next major storm. Remember, hurricanes are just a small part of life in North Carolina and South Carolina, so don’t get discouraged as you read guides like this one.