Hurricanes are one of the most damaging natural disasters. In fact, from 1980 to 2020, the total approximate cost of damages from weather and climate disasters in the United States was $2.155 trillion. In 2021 alone, the United States experienced 20 separate disaster events that caused more than one billion dollars' worth of damage.1
Hurricane season starts at the beginning of June and doesn't end until November. With the thousands of miles of coastline in the United States, the chance of substantial damage occurring is high. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), coastal shoreline counties create 40 percent of America's jobs and are responsible for 46 percent of the nation's gross domestic product. When a hurricane hits, the effect can be felt on a greater economic level, not just within the impacted region.2
You can never be too prepared for a natural disaster. The five tips below are designed to help you and your family feel more prepared in the event that a hurricane strikes.
Tip #1: Make a Plan
If you don't already have one, you need to make a plan. What would you and your family do if there were a major hurricane in your area? How would you prepare your house for the worst-case scenario? Sit down with your family and discuss what you should do before hurricane season arrives. Make a plan for rain- and wind-proofing your home, evacuating quickly, and/or supplying backup power to your home for several days.
Tip #2: Keep Accessible Supplies
You should have accessible supplies in the event that you either have to evacuate quickly or shelter in place.
This emergency supply kit should at minimum include:
- Water (one gallon per person per day)
- Non-perishable food
- Batteries and a radio
- Personal hygiene items
- First aid kit
- Copies of important documents (passport, birth certificate, insurance policies, etc.)
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that your go-bag includes enough supplies for three days. If you want to prepare to shelter in place, an at-home emergency kit should be able to last your family for up to two weeks.
Tip #3: Have an Evacuation Scenario
Having an evacuation plan that all family members are familiar with beforehand can help increase your chances of staying safe and reduce panic. Run through an evacuation plan with everybody who lives in your household at least once a year.
Some things to go over include:
- Where you will go
- The route you will take
- Items each family member will need to bring
Tip #4: Take An Inventory of Your Possessions
Conduct a home inventory that includes photographs, receipts, valuations, and digital backups. Keeping a thorough record of your belongings will be helpful if you have to make an insurance claim for lost or damaged possessions. Keep a record of your home inventory with your emergency kit or go-bag, so it's easily accessible in case of emergency.
Tip #5: Check What Your Insurance Policy Covers
Homeowners insurance will generally cover the damage made to your house's structure in the event of a natural disaster. However, areas with higher hurricane risk may carry higher hurricane deductibles on homeowners insurance. Make sure you're familiar with your insurance's hurricane policy and prepare an emergency fund to cover costs for repairs and rebuilds.3
Something to keep in mind is flood insurance. Even if your insurance policy carries hurricane coverage, flood coverage is a separate, federally backed option for homeowners. It is advisable to look into acquiring flood insurance in order to avoid extra damage costs.3
It is better to be prepared in the event that disaster strikes, as hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage. Take the proper measures to adequately insure and protect your home and possessions—and protect the safety of your loved ones—so that you can enjoy the months ahead with less worry.
- NOAA.gov, 2022
2. NOAA.gov, 2021
3. Investopedia.com, January 31, 2022
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