How to Prepare for Hurricane Season: Critical, Overlooked Steps

Posted by Howard Boiner
Find me on:

Hours-of-Operation-Britton-Gallagher.png 5 Minute Read

June ushers in a new season for hurricanes putting those in the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico along with parts of the Southwest and Pacific Coast on alert for high winds, heavy rains, and flooding until November.

iStock-523054438.jpg

Some of the standard preparation measures for hurricanes include: 

  • Securing your property

  • Covering all your home's windows

  • Installing straps or additional clips to fasten your roof to the frame structure to help reduce damage

  • Trimming back trees and shrubs to be more wind resistant

  • Bringing in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans or other items that are not permanently fastened down

  • Installing a backup generator

  • Securing your boat, either on your property or find another location further inland

  • Stocking up on items such as bottled water, canned goods, flashlights, nails, tarps and other necessities

You can download a more detailed hurricane preparedness guide here

If you are a seasoned resident, these recommended tips are probably very familiar and may even be a part of your annual home maintenance routine. Even the most veteran of harsh summer and fall storms have overlooked some critical preparation steps regarding hurricane season risk management. 

Why You Need an Emergency Communication Plan

According to The American Red Cross, the Internet—including online news sites and social media platforms—is the third-most popular way for Americans to gather emergency information and let their loved ones know they are safe. While the constant access afforded by the internet is a blessing for communicating updates, it is completely useless if, during a storm, phone lines, cell towers, internet services, and other technology go down.

Because technology cannot be counted to weather a storm, it is important that you establish a communication plan beforehand to ensure you and your family are unaffected by a loss of internet or phone service.

There are basic steps to start your emergency communication planning:

  • Sign all household members up for emergency alerts and warnings here. You can also sign up for text message updates on preparedness tips and alerts alerts from FEMA. Text "PREPARE" to 43362 (4FEMA)

  • Discuss the disaster situations which are likely to affect your area and establish designated areas to seek safety.

  • Gather paper copies of important contact information for your family members including all phone numbers, email, social media, school, medical facilities, doctors and service providers. 

  • Select emergency meeting places which are safe and familiar for your family. Have several options to accommodate varying levels of impact: in your neighborhood, outside the neighborhood and outside your city or town. Make sure everyone knows the address of the meeting place and discuss ways you would get there. 

  • Share information. Make sure everyone carries a copy and post one in a central location in your home, such as your refrigerator or family bulletin board.

  • Practice your plan. A Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) survey found that nearly 60% of American adults have not practiced what actions to take during a disaster like a hurricane. Have regular household meetings to review your emergency plans, communication plans and meeting place after a disaster, and then practice, just like you would a fire drill.  

Below are additional alert and emergency planning resources to include in your disaster preparation: 

Why You Need to Review Your Insurance Coverage Every Hurricane Season

Gaps in insurance coverage have been one of the most overlooked risk management measures in the wake of hurricanes.

When you purchased your home, it was inspected to ensure it was up to the building and construction codes at that time. As a homeowner, you are not required to update your home to match the codes; however, if you need to repair or rebuild due to storm damage, you are required to follow all current regulations. The Ordinance or Law Exclusion states the insurer will not pay for loss or damage caused directly or indirectly by:

“The enforcement of any ordinance or law:

(1) Regulating the construction, use or repair of any property; or

(2) Requiring the tearing down of any property, including the cost of removing its debris.” 

This coverage exclusion is meant to include various building codes: construction, electrical, plumbing, fire safety which may be more expensive to replace or repair.

If you have an older home, bringing it up to code may be very costly and is mandated for you to secure new insurance coverage. Your personal lines insurance broker can review your coverages and help identify the code changes in your county since your home was built or renovated. 

Your broker can help you set-up a wind mitigation inspection which will assess the preparedness of your home in its ability to resist the effects of a windstorm. These inspections are not required by the insurance carrier or your mortgage company; however, they can help identify areas for improvement to enhance your home's sustainability against a storm.

There are also laws which prohibit the rebuilding or requiring the elevation of buildings above the flood or tidal level in flood zones and coastal hurricane areas. With this in mind, you should have your personal risk advisor review your flood insurance limits to adjust for any increases dependent on additions or changes.

There are many resources and additional tips to follow to keep you and your family safe during hurricane season. Download more extensive guidance here or consult with your insurance broker. Your personal risk advisor can help you develop a family emergency plan or provide resources on building a disaster supply kit. 


Download the Hurricane Preparation & Response Guide 

Topics: hurricane emergency communication plan, insurance for hurricane, hurricane preparedness, preparing for hurricane, how to prepare for hurricane, flood insurance, hurricane insurance, wind mitigation inspection