This is the third and final post of our series about Hurricane Preparedness Week, which takes place May 7 - May 13. Our previous post investigated the story behind hurricane names. We hope you and your family stay safe during this upcoming hurricane season.
One of the deadliest and most threatening events of nature imaginable is a hurricane bearing down on you. Hurricanes affect several of the states our offices serve, like Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.
Many of our employees have experienced firsthand the devastation they can cause. Worse still is the reality that some insurance companies are all too willing to not just ignore, but even work against your recovery.
You can’t stop Mother Nature, but you can prepare yourself for every step of the storm, including dealing with the damage. Here’s what you can do to face the danger before, during, and after the storm and protect your assets.
Before the Storm
Preparation is the key to safety when it comes to hurricanes, and there are many different ways to keep you and your home safe. Use our hurricane safety checklist to make sure you’re prepared.
Prepare for a Long Haul But Be Prepared to Leave
Stocking up on sandbags, emergency supplies, food, and water is always advisable when you’re facing a hurricane. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends having at least one gallon of water per person for every three days of cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene you might expect.
Even if you protect your home with ample preparation, sometimes staying isn’t an option. Authorities like the Florida Division of Emergency Management inform residents when weathering the storm is a bad idea, and listening to them is key to staying safe. Leaving is especially hard for residents, particularly when you don’t know what you could come back to.
Your home is often your greatest asset, but it is very susceptible to damage during a hurricane. Winds can shatter windows, rip up roofs, and damage cars. By taking photos of the front, back, and side of your home, the roof, and the interior, you can help prove to the insurance company the extent of damage to your home.
A photographic record is very helpful in making your claim a success for homes and businesses alike. It can also show your insurance company that you attempted to protect your home so you can dismiss any claims they make of negligence on your part.
Check out our guide on the Saffir-Simpson scale and the varying strength of hurricanes for more information about how you should prepare.
During the Deluge
When the storm kicks off, focusing on your own safety takes center stage.
Avoid Flood Waters
Flood water and storm surge are common during a hurricane, and present a host of dangers. You may be tempted to venture outside during a moment of calm, but the water is often contaminated you risk catching a harmful disease.
Storm surge also tends to move swiftly. Just six inches of water can sweep you off your feet, and two feet can carry many automobiles away, according to the American Red Cross. Driving or traveling in the middle of a hurricane is very dangerous, and not advised.
Electricity Could Be Your Enemy
Generators have become very popular in recent years as residents prepare for possible service interruptions. But generators produce carbon monoxide, which can be just as dangerous as a hurricane. Storing them in closed spaces or near windows or doors may allow carbon monoxide to enter your home, which can be deadly.
Downed power lines can also be an issue. Many of these power lines are still live. If you come across any after a storm, avoid them and report them to your power company or emergency officials. Remember severed lines can get caught in trees or other objects above of you too.
Stay in Touch
Preparing your home is crucial, but your family is always the most important. Keep in contact with your loved ones and make sure everyone is okay, plus let them know you are too.
You can also use social media, the phone, or other platforms to inform emergency services of your situation, if necessary. Hurricanes are a hectic time and you can’t be swept up in the chaos.
After the Tempest
The strength of a hurricane can determine just how much damage you can expect. But the process for recovery has several key points. After you make sure your home is structurally sound, limiting further damage to your property takes priority.
Cover Up Your Property and Take More Photos
When you return home after the storm, you need to take stock of what you’ve lost and protect it from further damage. Use tarps or bring valuables inside to keep them safe, and take photos of your valuables and your yard again to show your insurance company the damage received from the storm. Make sure the exterior, interior, and any vehicles are documented to maximize your chances of a successful claim.
File Your Claim ASAP
Insurance policies often require you to act fast after storm damage, and there’s no such thing as too soon. It’s crucial that you’ve taken photos, written an inventory of your belongings, and filed a claim as soon as possible.
Find an Attorney
After hurricanes, insurance companies are no less likely to deny your claims even in the face of overwhelming evidence that you suffered damages.
This Hurricane Awareness Week, make sure you check out our hurricane safety checklist.
Insurance companies may try to lowball you, deny your claim, deny your insurance even exists, demand written release of other supplemental claims, or other tactics to limit your payout. A knowledgeable hurricane insurance attorney can help investigate your claim and determine to what extent you’re covered. Contact us today for a free, no-risk case evaluation.