Weathering the Storm: Your Comprehensive Hurricane Preparedness Guide


Millions of coastal homeowners face the reality of hurricane season each year. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), over 70% of coastal U.S. homes have sustained hurricane damage in the past 30 years. While these powerful storms can be disruptive and damaging, feeling prepared can significantly ease stress and ensure your family’s safety. This guide dives beyond the basics, offering insights and actionable steps to transform you from a hurricane bystander into a proactive homeowner ready to weather the storm.  

Understanding Your Hurricane Risk:  

The first step is understanding your specific hurricane risk. Not all coastal areas are created equal. Factors like geographical location, distance from the coast, historical storm patterns, and even your home’s elevation all influence your vulnerability. Research your area’s hurricane history, storm surge vulnerability zones, and familiarize yourself with the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale to understand the potential impact of different storm categories:   

Fortifying Your Home: Beyond the Basics  

While securing loose furniture and trimming branches are crucial, consider these additional steps to fortify your home:  

  • Garage Door Reinforcement: Garage doors are particularly vulnerable to high winds. Invest in hurricane clips or braces specifically designed to reinforce your garage door.  
  • Roof Inspection: Schedule a pre-season inspection by a qualified roofer to identify and address any potential weaknesses.  
  • Window Protection: Plywood remains a reliable option for boarding up windows. However, consider investing in pre-cut hurricane shutters for quicker and easier deployment.  
  • Secure Gas and Propane Tanks: Loose propane tanks can become dangerous projectiles in high winds. Securely fasten them to a stationary object or store them in a safe location.  
  • Protect Your Electrical System: If flooding is a major concern in your area, consider turning off the main breaker to your home’s electrical system before evacuating.  
  • Move Vehicles to Higher Ground: If possible, relocate your vehicles to higher ground, especially if your neighborhood is prone to flooding. Avoid parking under trees, outdoor artwork, and other objects that could fall in high winds.  
  • Secure or Remove Outdoor Furniture: Remove all outdoor furniture and any other items that can become flying debris during a storm to prevent damage to your property or others nearby.  
  • Document Your Belongings: Take video documentation of all your belongings in your home. Store this documentation off-site or in a cloud for easy access in case of a claim.  
  • Mature Trees and Trimming: Maintain mature trees by trimming back branches thicker than 3 inches, especially those close to or overhanging your roof.  

Beyond Homeowners Insurance: Exploring Flood Insurance and Additional Coverage  

Standard homeowners’ insurance typically excludes flood damage and may not provide adequate coverage for valuables like artwork, jewelry, or collectibles. Here’s what to consider:  

  • Flood Insurance: Depending on your location and risk profile, consider purchasing separate flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or private insurers.  
  • Floater Policy: Consider a floater policy for valuable possessions like artwork, jewelry, or collectibles that require coverage beyond the limits of your standard homeowners’ policy.  
  • Review Your Policy: Schedule a comprehensive review with your homeowners’ insurance advisor to ensure you have adequate coverage for your specific needs. This allows you to adjust your coverage, address any gaps, and ensure you have the financial protection you need in case of a disaster.  
  • Appraise Valuables: Consider getting your valuables professionally appraised. This documentation will be crucial for filing a claim if necessary.  
  • Secure Storage: Store valuable items in a safe deposit box or a hurricane-rated home safe for added protection.  

Preparing Your Boat for a Hurricane  

If you own a boat, have a plan in place to move it to safety ahead of severe storms. If you are required to follow a hurricane plan for your vessel, review it to ensure you are prepared to implement it, if needed.  

Investing in Peace of Mind: A Backup Power Source  

Consider investing in a permanently installed, whole-house generator to keep your home systems running during power outages. However, this may not be feasible for everyone.  

Stay Informed:  

Here are some helpful resources for helping you stay informed during hurricane season:  

Building a Comprehensive Hurricane Kit:  

Move beyond the standard “flashlight and water” mentality. Consider your family’s unique needs when assembling your hurricane kit. Here are some additional considerations:  

  • Dietary Restrictions: Include non-perishable food that caters to dietary restrictions, allergies, and baby needs. Stock up on formula and baby food if applicable.  
  • Entertainment: Power outages are common. Pack board games, card games, or a portable radio to keep everyone entertained.  
  • Pet Supplies: Don’t forget your furry (or feathered) family members! Include pet food, medications, leashes, and crates.  
  • Important Documents: Keep copies of essential documents like insurance policies, wills, passports, and medical records in a waterproof container.  
  • First-Aid Kit: Include a well-stocked first-aid kit in your hurricane kit.  

Empowering Yourself for Hurricane Season  

By working together and being prepared, you can transform hurricane season from a time of anxiety to a period of controlled preparation. With a fortified home, a solid insurance plan, a plan for your valuables and boat (if applicable), and a well-stocked kit, you can face any storm with confidence. Remember, a little proactive planning today can save you a lot of stress and heartache tomorrow. Most importantly, you’ll be empowering yourself and your family to weather any storm, literally and figuratively.  

Don’t Let Hurricane Season Catch You Off Guard!  

Hurricane season is almost here, but it doesn’t have to be a source of stress. Schedule a free consultation with Steve Rivera, Partner & National Private Client Practice Leader at The Liberty Company Insurance Brokers. Steve can help you ensure your home and valuables are properly protected, giving you peace of mind throughout the season. Contact Steve today at 

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