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Florida’s hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. In the past, we’ve seen more than our fair share of devastating storms. If a storm were to hit this season, are you and your home prepared? As we head into the peak of the hurricane season, here are six ways to prepare your Apollo Beach, FL, home in the event of a hurricane.

1. Review Your Insurance Coverage Now

Do not assume that your homeowners’ insurance will cover all the damage a hurricane could do. High winds, heavy rains and flooding can cause severe damage to homes, damage that most people can’t afford to fix without insurance to back them up. It’s always a good idea to review your policy each year to know what it covers and up to what dollar amount.

Many older homes are not built to withstand a Category 4 or 5 hurricane. That’s why you should make sure that your policy covers the entire cost of rebuilding your house if it is a total loss. Also, make sure you understand your coverage for roof damage and additional water damage to your home and belongings, and adjust it if needed.

Finally, find out if your insurance covers the cost of a hotel or rental house in the case of a major remodel. This can make a huge difference if your home is uninhabitable for weeks or months.

2. Consider Flood Insurance

After a bad storm, the last thing you want to hear from your insurance company is that they are denying your claim because the damage to your home is from flooding. Homeowners’ policies typically cover damage from the wind and rain, but not the flooding that often occurs after a storm passes.

It’s not uncommon for flooding to occur due to debris that accumulates and blocks storm drains. If you live in a low-lying or flood-prone area, you should consider purchasing flood insurance in addition to your homeowner’s coverage. This lets you avoid the debate over what the insurance company covers after the storm.

3. Secure Outdoor Furniture and Tools

Powerful winds turn your outdoor furniture or tools kept outside into dangerous projectiles. These items can come crashing through your windows or against your home and cause major damage and even injuries. Once you know a storm is coming, secure these items so they don’t fly around.

4. Trim Branches to Keep Them Away From Your Home

Once a hurricane forms, you typically have a few days’ notice before it will hit. If you have trees, take the time to see if there are branches near your house or hanging over your roof. It’s a good idea to trim them so they don’t fall on your roof.

If you can’t safely trim your trees on your own, hire a tree service to do it for you. However, keep in mind that many other people will be asking for this service right before a storm. Consider having your trees trimmed at the beginning of hurricane season to avoid the hassle of the rush before a storm.

5. Prepare for Power Surges

Your home’s electrical system can short out instantly with a power surge and damage your HVAC system, appliances and electronics. Having an electrician install a power surge protector to your electrical panel helps protect your home from surge damage.

If you don’t have a whole-house surge protector, it’s a good idea to turn off and unplug electronics and appliances at the height of the storm. You can also use power strips with built-in surge protectors to shield electronic items from sudden surges.

When you hire an electrician to do this work, you can also set up your home to run on a whole-home generator. The electrician creates a bypass switch that lets you turn off access to the main power grid and run power through the generator instead. This can make life easier if you’re out of power for several days.

6. Know Who to Call for Water Damage

It’s normal to panic after your home experiences water damage from a hurricane. However, it’s crucial that you begin the process of water mitigation immediately to prevent further damage to your home and belongings. With the heat and humidity in the Apollo Beach area, biological growth can quickly spread and require remediation.

No one likes to hassle with their insurance company. The good news is that you don’t have to! Start water damage mitigation by contacting ServiceMaster 24 Hour and we’ll help you file your insurance claim.

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