Of all the natural disasters, hurricanes are one of the most damaging. As a matter of fact, between 1980 and 2020 the total cost of damages from climate and weather disasters here in the United States was approximately $1.875 trillion. Looking at only 2020, the United States experienced $22 billion dollars in disaster damage.1
Hurricane season begins in early June and runs into November. Due to the thousands of miles of coastline in the United States, the chance of significant damage is high. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 40% of America’s jobs are created by coastal shoreline counties. Couple that with the fact that they are responsible for 46% of the nation’s gross domestic product,2 and you can clearly see that when a hurricane hits, the effects can be felt on a larger economic level, not just felt within the region directly impacted by the hurricane.
It is impossible to be too prepared for a natural disaster. Consider the five tips below. They are meant to help you and your family feel more prepared in the event of a hurricane strike.
One: Plan It Out
If you don’t already have a plan in place, you should make one. How would you and your family react if there were to be a major hurricane in your area? What steps would you take to prepare your house for the worst-case scenario? Before hurricane season arrives, sit down with your family and discuss what you should do. Create a plan for wind- and rain-proofing your home, supplying backup power and/or quickly evacuating for several days.
Two: Keep Supplies
In the event you and your family need to shelter in place or evacuate quickly, you should have supplies that are easily accessible.
At a minimum, this emergency supply kit should include:
- Batteries and a radio
- Copies of important documents (passport, birth certificate, insurance policies, etc.)
- First-aid kit
- Non-perishable food
- Personal hygiene items
- Water (one gallon per person per day)
FEMA recommends that you keep your go-bag supplied with enough for three days. When you prepare to shelter in place, you should create an at-home emergency kit that will be able to last you and your family for up to two weeks.
It is helpful to have an evacuation plan that all family members are familiar with. Creating and practicing this plan beforehand will help increase your chances of safety while also reducing panic. Run through the evacuation plan with all household members at least annually.
- Where you will go
- How you will get there (also plan alternate routes as weather sometimes makes travel difficult)
- Important items each family member is responsible for bringing
Conduct an inventory of your home that includes photographs, valuations, receipts, and digital back-ups. Keeping a detailed record of your belongings will be helpful if you need to make a claim with your homeowners insurance regarding lost or damaged possessions. Be sure to keep a record of your home inventory in your emergency kit or go-bag, so it's easily accessible if you need it.
Five: Coverage Check
Generally, your homeowner’s insurance will cover damage made to your house’s structure in the event of a natural disaster. Typically, areas with higher risk for hurricanes carry higher hurricane deductibles on homeowner’s insurance. Take a moment to make yourself familiar with your insurance’s hurricane policy and set aside an emergency fund to cover costs for any repairs and/or rebuilds.
Another thing to check is flood insurance coverage. Even if your insurance policy carries hurricane coverage, flood coverage is a separate, federally-backed option for homeowners. It is advisable to take a look at acquiring flood insurance so you can avoid extra damage costs.
In the event that disaster strikes, it is better to be over prepared than under prepared. Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage so you need to take proper measures to adequately protect and insure your home, possessions and loved ones. It will help put your mind at ease over the months ahead.