Although Florida often gets tons of press for having the most hurricanes in the country, only 37 hurricanes have made landfall since 1851. However, many of these hurricanes caused catastrophic damage, causing fatalities, battering homes, and leaving many people without power or shelter. While there’s no way to predict how many hurricanes will hit the Palm Harbor, Florida, area in the coming months or years, it’s important to know how to prep and protect your home if one’s on its way. If you just moved to Florida or you’ve never prepped before, here are some tips to prepare your home for a head-on hit from a hurricane.
Check Your Insurance Policy
If a hurricane is on its way to your area, it’s too late to change your insurance policy. However, looking it over before hurricane season is a vital way to ensure you have the coverage you need. One fatal flaw that most homeowners make is that they only insure their house for its actual value. They don’t take into account that the cost to rebuild is often higher than the appraised value. Building costs and services are on the rise throughout the country, and after a hurricane hits, they can get even more expensive. There’s no rule of thumb for how much over the cost of your home to insure, so work with your agent to find the appropriate amount.
In addition to the hurricane insurance, you may also want to tack on flood insurance. Few homeowners know that these are two different policies. Even if your home survives the storm, it may not get past the subsequent floods. Don’t leave this to chance. Get a flood policy in addition to your hurricane insurance.
Secure Your Doors and Windows
The most obvious reason to secure your doors and windows is to make sure that they aren’t broken by flying debris, yet this isn’t the only risk. When doors fly open and windows break, they allow water to pour into your home. This can cause severe water damage to any furniture in the home, as well as floors, drywall, and other portions of your house. To make matters worse, the wind that flies in at up to 155 mph can cause a dangerous swing in air pressure that puts stress on your walls and roof.
Because of these potential problems, it’s important to secure your doors and windows at all costs. If you don’t have storm shutters and storm doors, it’s worth a look to see how much they cost. If you don’t have the budget, putting up plywood is the next best method. While you may have to do it at a moment’s notice, it will protect your home for just $1 to $2 a square foot.
Brace Your Garage Door
While most homeowners may think that the roof is the most vulnerable part of the home during a hurricane, it’s actually the garage door. The wind from outside and the pressure from inside push and pull the garage door, causing havoc in the process. When the garage door finally gives way, it’s usually forced inward, which can destroy anything in its path, including an attic or roof above the garage.
To counteract this effect, it’s important to brace your garage door. Many home improvement stores sell kits that help reinforce the garage door, but adding horizontal wooden beams can add another layer of protection.
Trim Trees and Clear the Lawn
Trees are leading causes of insurance claims after a hurricane. During high winds, branches can turn into missiles, hitting your roof or other portions of your home and causing extensive damage. Even if you have home insurance, this may not cover the cost of removing the tree. Instead of leaving this to chance, trim your trees regularly, or at least before the hurricane comes. This will prevent most situations that could leave your home vulnerable to damage.
Even if you take all the necessary precautions, a massive hurricane can still destroy your home with water damage. If that happens to you, don’t hesitate to call ServiceMaster Restore. Our trained staff members are ready to help you with whatever you need at the drop of a hat. Give us a call today at 727-300-3773.
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