How To Prepare for a Hurricane
Knowing a hurricane is coming your way is stressful and frightening. These storms can be life-threatening. And they can damage property directly, with additional hazards like flooding making things much worse and far more dangerous. Hurricane preparedness will help you get through hurricane season. It will also mitigate risk and maximize your peace of mind.
A note for insurance producers: if you live in an area with an active hurricane season, please share these tips with your clients. Liability insurance is a key aspect of hurricane preparation, along with staying informed and making wise decisions. Following these hurricane preparedness steps will serve to mitigate risk for your clients and avoid needless claims. Make sure your clients are prepared!
How to Prepare for a Hurricane: Before the Storm
The best thing you can do in hurricane season is be prepared long in advance, per the CDC. A hurricane emergency kit is a must-have. Ensure that it is functional long before you need it, replenishing missing items if necessary. This kit will ensure that you and your family will be as safe as possible if you have to manage without help after a hurricane.
You will need basic supplies, including a gallon of water per person, for several days. A three-day supply of nonperishable food is essential. A battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight, first aid kit, batteries, whistle or another signal device, can opener, and cooking fuel are helpful too. Add blankets, cell phone charging devices, blankets, clothing, toiletries, and anything else that you will need.
One more addition to the kit: cash can be helpful, especially if power goes out and ATMs are inaccessible. Be aware of where important documents like legal papers, insurance policies, and passports are. Have them ready to grab and go.
Develop and document an emergency plan that outlines how to evacuate your home, where your emergency kit is, and where your family can meet if separated. If you have pets, include plans for their evacuation and wellbeing. You can also look at your community’s emergency plan, evacuation routes, and shelters.
During a Hurricane
First, determine whether you are dealing with a hurricane watch or a hurricane warning. A warning is more serious and indicates that hurricane-force winds are expected. This warning is typically issued 36 hours before the wind is expected to hit.
If a storm is imminent, secure the exterior of your home by putting away outdoor furniture and toys. Protect windows and doors. Secure wall hangings or remove them. Park any vehicles at high ground or inside of the garage against the doors. Fill your car’s gas tank, charge any devices, and unplug appliances.
Follow local TV, radio, or online updates to find out what is going on with the storm. If you are ordered to evacuate, do not ignore that order. Take your emergency supply kit and important items, turn off gas, electricity, and water, and follow the appropriate evacuation route.
If you’re told to stay at home or you need to do so despite the warnings, your emergency kit will help. Stay inside and stay away from windows in particular.
If flooding traps you in your home, go to the highest level of the building aside from a closed attic. In this scenario, you should still be prepared to leave because an evacuation order could come at any time.
After a Hurricane
Hopefully, your hurricane-preparedness plans helped get you through the storm with minimal damage. Now, it’s time to let your loved ones know you’re safe, pick up the pieces and figure out what to do next. Continue listening to local officials for information and instructions. Only return home or work when authorities say it is safe to do so.
Avoid using potentially contaminated water. Stay out of buildings with water around them. Also, avoid loose or hanging power lines and report them to the power company if possible. The American Red Cross has a full checklist for inspecting your home’s structural elements and another for checking utilities, systems, and household items.
If you do observe damage, pictures of the building and its contents will be helpful to make an insurance claim. Liability insurance may cover some forms of hurricane damage. It’s wise to check for this long before a storm hits.
Liability insurance specific to flooding can also help in the aftermath of a hurricane. If your client’s home or business is at risk of a hurricane and/or flooding, discuss it with them as soon as possible! You can help your clients understand how they should prepare their home and vehicles in accordance with policy to ensure damages are covered.
After a hurricane, your clients may wish to build in hurricane-resistant elements to avoid future damage. If so, it’s safest to work with a professional.
We are here to help you and your clients with the insurance you need to get through any storm. Call Prime Insurance Company at 800-257-5590.