Hurricane season has begun, but you can still take steps to minimize the risk of damage to your home if a named storm swoops down on Central Florida this year.
Here are 10 ways you can beef up your home’s protection before a hurricane approaches – don’t wait until a storm is on its way!
Outside Your House
- Check all trees and bushes around your house, and remove damaged or dead limbs. Encourage your neighbors to do the same – a flying branch from next door can cause just as much damage as a limb from one of your own trees, after all.
- Replace loose gravel landscaping with bark.
- Clean out gutters and downspouts so they drain properly.
- Create a plan for securing lawn furniture, grills and children’s outdoor play equipment – you don’t want anything coming loose and flying around during the storm. Contrary to popular belief, It is not advisable to put lawn furniture into your swimming pool, although many Floridians do so.
The Structure Itself
Remember that windows, doors and your roof are all vulnerable to damage from hurricane-force winds, so you want them to be as strong as possible.
- If you remodel, choose impact-resistant window systems, especially for sliding or patio doors.
- Obtain shutters to protect your windows. There are three types of shutters: accordion and roll-down shutters are permanently installed on your house, while storm panels are installed when needed. If your shutter system is certified impact resistant by Dade County Building Code you know it gives top protection. Plywood is not a good shutter choice and doesn’t meet current building code, but if you must use it make sure it’s at least ½” thick and has been treated for outdoor use. Note that window film and tape provide no protection against flying debris.
- If you have older skylights, replace them with new products that meet current codes for wind resistance.
- Make sure your garage door can resist high winds. All garage doors should have permanent stiffeners. Newer doors come with them, but if you can’t install stiffeners on your older door, contact the manufacturer for information about temporary center supports. You’d install them before a storm hits, and uninstall afterwards.
- Outside doors should have a minimum of three hinges, and a deadbolt that extends a full inch. Make sure the doors are securely anchored to the framing.
- Inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles which could let in wind or rain. If the roof doesn’t meet current codes for wind resistance, upgrade at the first opportunity.
Bonus Tip to Protect Your Home during a Hurricane
Now that you’ve done what you can to protect your home against hurricane damage, give yourself some financial peace of mind as well – review your hurricane insurance coverage. Damage from hurricanes, and the flooding that often accompanies them, can be extensive and expensive so be sure you have the right policy you need to protect your home and its contents from hurricane losses. Our highly trained agents will be happy to meet with you for a no-obligation insurance review.