We love living in South Carolina. With our proximity to the mountains, abundant and lush greenery, and, of course, that short drive to the Atlantic coast. So dreamy! But from June through November each year, those of us living on the East Coast often have more than a few weather challenges to contend with. One of those challenges is hurricanes – especially when your property is closer to the shore.
The best way to protect yourself and your property is to consider how you’ll be prepared for a hurricane before you find one knocking on your door. You may be asking yourself, “How can I protect my house from strong winds?” or “How do I make my roof hurricane-proof?” In this article, we’ll share tips and advice on how to make your home a hurricane-proof house, considerations for storm-proof materials while building a home, and the importance of insurance in protecting you from storm damage.
Secure the Exterior
Strong winds and water damage are some of the scariest and most expensive consequences of hurricanes and tropical storms. Hurricane winds often include intense speeds (with some exceeding 150 mph), widespread coverage that affects vast areas, powerful gusts capable of spawning tornadoes, and they can last for hours or even days.
To protect your home from these powerful forces, pay special attention to your home’s exterior. As a bonus, a stormproof house is a stormproof house: several of these tips will help fortify your home in the winter months that follow hurricane season.
Windows and Doors
You should ensure that all doors – including sliding glass doors – are secure. If you’re building a new home, consider investing in hurricane-resistant windows and doors. For existing homes, you can upgrade to impact-resistant windows or install storm shutters and reinforce doors with heavy-duty hardware to prevent windborne debris from causing damage.
What is the cheapest way to hurricane-proof windows? While not as durable as hurricane shutters, you can use 5/8-inch plywood to cover your windows if high winds are approaching.
How do you hurricane-proof a front door? A front door is often a weak point during a hurricane. Invest in a solid impact-resistant door made of materials like fiberglass or metal, add a heavy-duty deadbolt and strike plate to all entrances, and strengthen hinges and door frames with longer screws for better stability to strengthen your door.
Your roof is a critical component of your hurricane-proof house. If your home doesn’t already have them, install hurricane straps and clips. These secure your roof trusses to the walls, providing an additional level of protection in high winds.
You should seal roof penetrations, such as vents and skylights, with caulk to prevent water intrusion. Check for loose tiles or shingles and secure them. When building your home, choose a wind-resistant roofing material like metal, tile, or a steep-slope asphalt shingle, which performs better in high winds.
Sustained hurricane-force winds can uproot a healthy tree, but it could take just one or two brisk gusts to knock over a dead or dying tree or knock a branch onto your roof. Take notice of any trees that need an arborist’s attention before a big storm arrives. Trim trees and shrubs to make them more wind-resistant. Secure or bring inside any loose items like patio furniture, potted plants, and bicycles.
Reinforce your garage door with a bracing kit or a retrofit kit for hurricane resistance. Consider purchasing a hurricane-proof door model for the best protection. These doors are designed to endure strong winds and flying debris, providing added assurance during hurricane season.
Seal gaps around your home to prevent wind and water-related destruction. This includes openings on outwalls such as vents, outdoor electrical outlets, and areas where cables and pipes penetrate the wall. Also, ensure the caulking around windows and doors isn’t missing or cracked.
If you live in a flood-prone area, invest in barriers to keep floodwater at bay. The installation process will depend on the type of barrier and your home’s design, so please consult your manufacturer’s instructions.
Understanding Homeowners and Renters Insurance for Storm Protection
For all your efforts to weather-proof your home, it’s equally crucial to ensure you have adequate insurance coverage. Standard homeowners insurance usually covers storm damage, including damage from wind and fallen trees, but it’s essential to review your policy – coverage can vary widely depending on your location and specific policy.
In certain coastal areas, you might require coastal insurance. Also note that flood damage isn’t typically covered in the standard homeowner’s insurance policies, calling for separate flood insurance.
Renters should consider purchasing renters insurance to cover personal belongings and any damage caused by a storm inside the rented dwelling.
Be sure you document everything. Before the storm hits, take photos or videos of your home and belongings to make the claims process easier.
Protecting your home doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With enough planning and preparation, we’re confident that you can navigate through storms just like the rest of life’s challenges. At Independent Insurance Associates, we can help ensure peace of mind for you and your family. Contact us with questions or for a free quote today!