Protecting your home during Hurricane Season in Florida can save you from losing thousands of dollars and tiring property damage claims.
Every year we witness a Hurricane Season in Florida. Some years are far worse than others. The consequences can be catastrophic. And with Florida having the most homes at risk of hurricane damage in the U.S, you must prepare in advance.
Here are the top tips for protecting your home from a Hurricane in Florida:
Critical Areas for Hurricane Damage Protection
When protecting your home from Hurricane Season in Florida, the most important thing to do is protect the areas where wind and water can enter. You can do this by targeting the five critical areas:
- Garage Doors
Now, let’s get into the specifics:
Close and Lock All Windows
It may seem like an obvious tip, but people with large properties with multiple windows can sometimes forget a skylight or bathroom window that is usually left open for ventilation. Close and lock every window.
A property damage claim may also fail if it’s proven that you left a window open, which resulted in a flood. Don’t make this mistake.
Cover and Protect All Windows
Hurricane shutters are a great way of investing in permanent hurricane damage protection. You can also make DIY window braces with plywood and brackets. Note, taping tends to do nothing in violent winds and rainstorms. You’ll need something more robust.
Mount any shutters to the walls around the windows, not the window frame.
You should also make sure all the seals around your windows and doors are secure. If these have become damaged over time, they can be vulnerable entry points for wind and rain.
Install a Heavy Duty Bolt Door
If you’re afraid your doors won’t stand up to the punishment of violent winds, consider purchasing a bolt kit from a hardware store.
A quick and easy installation can keep the tops and bottoms of your doors much stronger. So when the wind arrives, your home stands a better chance of avoiding damage.
All it takes is one door to push open and you could have wild, hurricane-force winds tearing your home apart.
Check All Roof Shingles and Seals
Many people overlook the roof, but that’s where hurricane damage can really begin. Internal pressure can build through small openings, which can lead to massive destruction.
Make sure every single roof tile, shingle and seal is secure. If you see curling shingles, signs of damage, bald spots and leaks – it’s time to get a roof replacement.
Of course, not everyone needs a full roof replacement, but even small areas will need fixing up if they’re vulnerable.
Never climb on a roof if you don’t have the skills or gear to do so safely – hire an expert.
Install Metal Roof Straps
The next critical area is straps. Many roofs might seem in great condition but aren’t secured. If your roof is relying on gravity only, then a strong hurricane will eat it for breakfast. If you have the means to do so, install metal roof straps to prevent the wind from simply tearing a hole in your home.
Bring All Furniture Inside
If you see a storm warning, don’t delay bringing in any furniture or items outside. Be aggressive here and ask, “Will this item fly away in 100 mph winds?”. If the answer is yes, it must go inside.
From tables to chairs and pink flamingos, the last thing you want is to cause damage to you or a neighbors property. Plus, you can save all that furniture from being lost.
Check The Porch Is Secure
Confirm your deck and porch posts are secure and anchored. If they’re not correctly anchored, they can lift up and take the rest of the decking and surrounding structures with them.
It’s a little bit of effort to prevent an expensive repair job.
If your yard contains trees with branches close to your house, consider trimming any overhanging or damaged ones. Any branches that could blow off in hurricane season in Florida can smash windows, hit cars or crack roof tiles.
Trees are known to be a blessing and a curse during hurricane season in Florida. They can protect your home from strong winds and debris, but if they’re at risk of falling, then it might be time to call in a tree surgeon.
A blockage in your guttering can cause an overflow that sends water to your basement or doorways.
Clean out leaves, branches and other debris.
Place Sandbags Around Entrances
Sandbags won’t guarantee protection from hurricanes; they go a long way to preventing flooding and flood damage.
Line your doors and garage door with sandbags, which will allow them to soak any water that leaks through in heavy rain.
This is a last line of defense that can save your belongings, electronics and flooring from getting significantly impacted by water damage.
Protect Your Garage
Sandbags, an upgraded impact-resistant garage door and new seals can make a big difference in maintaining your garage.
It’s also a good idea to store your car safely in your garage, rather than leave it open to the elements. Don’t move it too late. Be proactive, not reactive.
If your home does take a big hit from hurricane season in Florida, then knowing what you’ve lost will be difficult without a reference list.
Simply take photos of the contents in each room, so you don’t have to rely on memory alone.
Write down the item and serial numbers of valuable items and appliances. Save receipts in a secure, high-up place and make digital copies if possible.
If you need to make a property damage claim, your insurer will ask for evidence of receipts.
Place any valuables such as cash, wedding tapes, jewelry and your limited edition signed baseball cards in a secure location. The best way to do this is in a waterproof bag or a safe. But if that’s not possible, then a waterproof container at higher ground is your best bet.
If water enters your ground floor or basement, your valuables will be safe.
Get Your Home Reviewed
One last extreme but potential home-saving choice to take is a complete structural review.
Homes built to stricter and newer building code provisions perform better during hurricane season in Florida than older structures which can sometimes float off their foundations.
Proper foundation design, roof installation, and elevated first floors can significantly improve the strength of your home.
Review Your Home Insurance
One final step you can take when protecting your home from a hurricane is to review your home insurance policies. By law, home insurance coverage for hurricanes must cover damage caused by wind.
But flooding is usually covered in a separate policy. If you want total coverage, it’s best to buy a flood damage add-on to ensure your insurer covers all water damage.
If in doubt, contact a property damage claims lawyer for expert guidance.
Tips for After the Hurricane
- Stay safe and watch out for potential falling debris.
- Avoid electrocution and handle power outlets with caution.
- Document your losses and damages.
- Avoid scams from unlicensed contractors and fake phone calls.
- Contact a property damage claims attorney to ensure you get the payment you deserve from your insurance company.
Contact a Property Damage Claims Attorney in Florida
If your home has suffered from a hurricane, whether it be significant wind damage or minor flooding, then you don’t need to stress and tackle an insurance company alone.
Our legal team can help you stand up to insurers, leaving no room for unjust underpayments or denied claims. Get your life back on track, with repairs and healing – with the financial help you deserve.
St. Petersburg Property Damage Attorney Jonathon W. Douglas can advise you of your legal rights and help ensure they remain protected. Call us today to schedule a free consultation: (727) 381-2300.