How to Keep Your Home Safe in the ‘Eye of the Storm’
On Tuesday morning, Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti, less than 800 miles off the coast of Florida. According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm grew stronger through the night. The Category 4 hurricane showed nearly 145 mph winds last night, a 5 mph increase in just a matter of hours. Now, the Florida coast is the next target. A hurricane warning is in effect for Jamaica, and weather experts predict Hurricane Matthew to reach Florida later this week.
What can you do to prepare your Central Florida home for the storm?
1. Review Your Insurance Policies
Did you know that some insurance policies cover all your rebuilding costs in the case of a total loss? However, many times, this kind of rebuild requires more coverage than your current home value.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, rebuilding costs are often higher than what a homeowner’s current policy covers. With building costs on a steady incline, now is a great time to contact your insurance provider and see whether a policy change is needed.
Also, consider adding flood insurance to your policy, as this is usually a separate addendum. Make sure your policy covers both hurricane damage and the water damage that can follow.
2. Secure Your Roof
Go on the defensive, and save yourself thousands in roof repairs. First, inspect your roof covering. Make sure ALL tiles or shingles are secured and that none are cracked or missing.
If you do notice cracks or missing shingles, spend an extra $500 to $1000 to have someone fill in the holes on your roof. Then, seal your roof’s seams with waterproof tape or self-sealing waterproof barrier, which you can pick up at Home Depot or Lowe’s.
Either way, these quick repairs cost very little compared to a full roof replacement.
3. Secure Your Patios and Porches
Any structure attached to the outside of your home, such as a porch, carport or patio, will become a tool in the storm’s hands. Heavy winds will make any add-on structures tear a hole through your house.
Make sure these outdoor or add-on structures are firmly anchored to the ground. If they’re portable, take them down. If the posts are wobbly or weak, replace them.
If they cannot be replaced, use a strong rope, utility wire or a garden hose to reinforce the posts and secure them. Also, move any loose items, such as lawn chairs or bird feeders, inside your home.
4. Locate Your Utility Cutoff Lines
Severe hurricane damage can often cause power surges and/or ruptured gas or water lines. So, you need to be able to locate your cutoff switches and valves in the event of an emergency.
Locate these switches for your water, power and gas. Water and gas cutoffs are usually located near their respective utility meters. To cut off the electricity, locate your breaker box (or fuse box), which is usually in a garage, storage room, basement or hallway near an exit door.
5. Assess Your Valuables
The value of your possessions is always subjective. Despite what you put on your insurance claims, having photographs will always help verify the true worth of your valuables.
Use your cell phone to take photos or videos of your home. Photograph your jewelry, furniture, electronics and other valuables. Then, send or email those photos to someone outside of Florida or the storm-threatened area.
These records will help you and your insurance company understand exactly what each item is worth, should an insurance claim arise.
As a Central Florida homebuilder, we understand firsthand how scary these unexpected storms can be. Your home is often the largest purchase and investment you will make in your lifetime. So, protecting that investment is something we care a lot about at AV Homes and Royal Oak Homes.
I hope this information finds you well, and we hope you and your loved ones will stay safe this hurricane season.