In the case of natural disasters, nothing causes damage and destruction like a hurricane.
Tropical storms and hurricanes generate an estimated $ 54 billion in financial losses each year in the United States, reports the Congressional Budget Office. And more than half of this damage is related to home repairs.
If you live in a hurricane, it is almost inevitable that you will experience some form of damage to your home or property. This is why it helps to work with a local agent to understand how your homeowners insurance can cover different types of hurricane damage.
With a little preparation, there are steps you can take to reduce the impact and keep your family safe. Keep reading to learn what steps you can take to be ready, whether it's months before hurricane season or when a warning is issued.
When is the hurricane season?
In the United States, the hurricane season in the Atlantic runs from June 1
Wondering what to do before a hurricane? Follow this hurricane preparation list for tips to help you storm the storm:
Tips for Before the Hurricane Season Begins
- Make an emergency plan. Making a plan helps ensure your family is on the same page if a hurricane strikes. A plan can help you make decisions faster and reduce the fear of young children. Visit www.ready.gov/plan for resources.
- Know your evacuation route. If a hurricane is heading towards you, you may be asked to evacuate your home. Knowing your final destination and route in advance can help you evacuate quickly when time is important.
- Sign up for trusted alerts and alerts. During a hurricane, you need access to reliable information at the right time. So it is best to identify several methods to get alerts or warnings before a hurricane. Download the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) app on your phone to receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service. It is also wise to familiarize yourself with how the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) work in your area.
- Find a reliable radio news station. If tools go down, a radio may be your only reliable source of information. Buy a battery-powered radio or hand-held radio to have standby. And write down your local National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) radio station frequency.
- Find important documents. Keep copies of your medical information, insurance, passports, birth certificates and proof of address together in a waterproof container so that you have them on hand if needed.
- Check your insurance. Usually called a hurricane guard about 48 hours before tropical storms. Once this has happened, it is unlikely that you will be able to get a new policy or make a last minute policy change. To ensure your home and property are covered, check in with your insurance agent before the hurricane season begins. Read our related article on how named storms can affect your insurance coverage .
- Create a home inventory. If you have to make an insurance claim, you must document everything you have lost. This is where a home inventory can help. It is a list of all your personal belongings, along with their estimated value. And it's a great way to protect the contents of your home. Learn more about creating a home inventory .
- Build an emergency kit. It can be difficult to imagine several days (or weeks) without electricity, internet or running water. But during a hurricane, anything can happen. This is why your family should have storage ready for all types of disasters. Check out these 31 must-have items for your home emergency kit .
- Invest in a generator. When a hurricane is on its way, backup power generators are one of the first things sold in stores. Buy your hurricane power supply in advance and familiarize yourself with these 9 things to know if you have a backup generator .
- Protect your pets. . During and after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, thousands of pets were abandoned because their owners had no plans to evacuate them. To protect your hairy friends, follow these tips for pet protection .
Tips for preparing during the hurricane season
- Collect supplies. Stores important supplies for a hurricane. This includes plenty of water, non-perishable food and batteries.
- Clean your gutters. To reduce water damage, make sure your gutters, drains and drains are ready before the storm. This will help you divert as much rain as possible from your home.
- Prepare windows and doors. One of the best ways to prepare a home for a hurricane is by protecting your windows and doors from broken glass. Permanent storm hatches offer the best protection, but you can also cover them with half an inch of marine plywood, if needed.
- Lower the temperature. If you do not have a generator, you can set the fridge and freezer to the coldest setting to keep food cool if the power goes out.
- Fill the tank. If the damage in your area is severe, it can be difficult to find an open gas station for several days after a hurricane. Make sure all your vehicles are gassed and fill in all portable gas cans you have in advance.
- Charge your devices. Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are your link to important information during a disaster. Make sure they are fully charged when a hurricane bell is announced. For extra peace of mind, you can consider buying a battery-powered portable charger or powerbank.
- Store outdoor items. Patio furniture, trash cans and bicycles can be easily carried by strong winds, so take them indoors before the storm strikes.
- Check in with neighbors. See if anyone in your area can use an extra hand to prepare for the storm. This is especially important if you have neighbors who are elderly or disabled.
- Fill sink and tub. If your tools are switched off, you can have extra water on hand when it comes to flushing the toilet or washing clothes. Get more tips for storing water during a natural disaster.
- Move your valuables. If you have time, move valuables and furniture to the highest point in your home to prevent water damage.
- Notify friends and family. Before the storm hits, let those closest to you (outside the storm zone) know your plans. Try to limit your phone calls during the storm itself. Wireless networks are often congested during an emergency.
- Evacuate if directed. If local authorities issue an order to evacuate, take it seriously and act quickly. . Avoid flooded roads and look for washed bridges. If an evacuation order is in place, you and your family may risk riding out the storm. If you can not stay with friends or family, go to an emergency shelter.
Last minute tips for a hurricane guard or warning
A hurricane guard means that hurricane conditions are possible within the specified range. They are usually issued 48 hours before the expected onset of tropical storm force.
A hurricane warning means that conditions are expected within a specified range. As hurricane preparedness activities become difficult when winds reach tropical storm power (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph), hurricane warnings are issued 36 hours before the expected onset of the storm. Keep these tips in mind when it happens.
- Stay indoors. If you protect on the spot, avoid the temptation to go out and watch the storm. By far the safest place to wait for a hurricane is in your home.
- Avoid flood waters. Do not walk, swim or drive through flood water. Not only could the current sweep you away, but the water could contain harmful contaminants and bacteria.
- Disconnect appliances. If you lose power, disconnect your appliances. This protects them from power outages, which can cause permanent damage.
- Turn off tools. Switch off electricity, water and gas at the main shutdowns if instructed to do so by your electricity supplier.
- Stay awake. When it's safe to ride outdoors, watch out for closed power lines and other dangerous obstacles.
- Do not return until it is safe. If you have been evacuated from your home, return only when local authorities say it is safe to do so.
Following these tips before a storm occurs can help limit the damage to your home and property. For information on what to do after a hurricane, visit our hurricane safety page .
Damage service you can rely on to help you weather the storm
At Erie Insurance, we know how valuable a little kindness can be in your worst day. When you need it most, we promise to provide relief, support and peace after the storm.
We believe that a claiming experience that is fast, fair and personal is not a luxury reserved for too few. We insist that exceptional service is an everyday expectation – for you and all our customers.
That's why we have a dedicated team of claimants who respond to disaster claims. Our specially trained disaster teams are sent to your community immediately after a weather event so they can be right outside the door and handle your claim quickly and with compassion.
To learn how to protect what matters most – in all weathers –  contact a local ERIE agent in your area .
Post Hurricane Prep Checklist: 28 Things to Do Before a Hurricane First Appeared on the Insurance Center Agency.