There are a lot of great advantages to living in the wonderful Sunshine State, but one of the negative aspects is being in the path of tropical storms and hurricanes. Those of us who have lived here for years often aren’t phased by the wind and rain, but you can’t let your guard down because you never know which storm will bring devastation. It’s best to follow these tips to avoid an auto or home insurance claim while bundling your insurance coverages.
One of the biggest issues with hurricane force winds are windows. If they are not protected, they can break, and your home is left vulnerable. The issue becomes more than just some broken glass, because the wind gains access to the house, not only damaging the interior, but lifting up on the roof, which can cause complete devastation. Once the roof is lifted, the walls are no longer anchored, and the house is usually a total loss.
To properly protect windows, use at least 1/2 inch plywood to cover each window, and 3/4 inch is even better. Screws should be placed around the windows every 18 inches. Don’t wait for a storm watch to get the supplies, because there is too much to do. Have plywood cut to size, screws, drill, ladder, and all supplies ready to go in one location.
Another job to stay on top of is keeping trees healthy. Make sure all dead branches are trimmed off trees regularly. If you have trees that you feel may not be strong, have them evaluated and possibly removed.
Roof damage is a common insurance claim after these storms, so make sure any loose shingles or tiles are repaired before the storm hits. One that is loose or missing usually starts a domino-effect, and the wind will take off several more. Not only will that cause possible water damage to your home, but airborne roofing materials can cause further breakage or injury.
The last thing you need to do to protect your home is be ready for water. If your home is in a possible flood zone, move important belongings to a higher level, or out of the home. Have an emergency bag with essential papers and prescription medications ready to go if the need to evacuate arises. If authorities declare the need to leave, have a plan on where to meet family members, and don’t hesitate. Better to be safe than sorry.
In addition to protecting your home in these storms, you will want to avoid an auto insurance claim too. It is best to stay inside during these storms, and to avoid driving if possible, but if you find yourself out on the road due to an emergency or an evacuation, follow these tips.
- Slow down, and allow ample space between you and other vehicles.
- Give larger vehicles that may be more susceptible to wind gusts plenty of room.
- Make sure your headlights are on, and in severe weather, you can turn your hazard lights on to ensure other vehicles see you.
- Do not drive around barricades which are there to alert drivers of an unsafe situation.
- Do not drive through standing water, especially if you don’t know how deep it is.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have no choice but to drive through flooded roads, try to gauge how deep the water is by watching other vehicles. Then proceed slowly and steadily. If your vehicle stalls or gets stuck, don’t panic. Call for help, and try to get to higher ground. It’s often wise to climb on the roof of the vehicle and await help than to try to walk through flooded water.
Most importantly, it is imperative that you stay informed. These storms often change track and intensity, and so residents must have access to the latest forecasts and news bulletins. Keep a battery-powered radio and fresh batteries in your home at all times.
Hurricanes and tropical storms are nothing new in Florida, and you can hopefully survive them just fine if you follow these steps and use common sense. For more tips on avoiding insurance claims, contact us. If you would like more information about how to avoid home insurance claims check out our article “Avoid Home Insurance Claims by Protecting Your Home from Damaging Winds“.