Hurricane Damage

Hurricanes

Hurricanes are tropical storms or cyclones and are the largest storms on Earth. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30th and sometimes longer. Hurricanes have winds in excess of 74 miles per hour, sometimes over 150 mph and often bring storm surge and flooding.  

Hurricanes are common in tropical locations and the southeastern part of the country. Today’s storm tracking provides plenty of notice of an approaching storm, but the slightest change in direction at the last minute can change the path of the storm and the areas most strongly impacted.  Follow the warnings and evacuation advice, and be sure to make your preparations as early as possible.

DAMAGE BUDDY TIP: Be sure to check your preparedness every year in late spring. Cut any loose branches, clean off coconut trees, check and oil your shutters if you have them. If you have a generator, start it and be sure you have fuel on hand. Stock up on water and non-perishable items in the event you have an extended loss of power.  Check your insurance policy to be sure all are current.

What kind of damage can a hurricane cause?

The high winds are normally the biggest threat to your property. They can blow out windows or doors, take off roofs, or even level buildings. Once your home is exposed to the heavy rains the damage can be devastating. Flooding is another source of water damage and the waters can very quickly invade your home. Flying debris is also a source of danger to you and your home.

How do I best protect my family and property against hurricanes?

Listen to all travel advisories and obey all directions given by your local authorities. If you are ordered to evacuate, you must evacuate. SAFETY FIRST! There are several very helpful sites that post updates throughout the day. Become familiar with them. The National Hurricane Center is always a great source of info.  Visit www.nhc.noaa.gov.

Begin securing your property at first warning. Better safe than sorry. Install your shutters before the storm is near. If you don’t have shutters or impact- resistant windows and doors, cover them with plywood. Bring in all outdoor furniture, grills, and other loose items. Something as small as a potted plant can become a dangerous missile in 100 mph winds. 

Fill your bathtub with water that can be used to flush toilets or clean dishes.

Keep important documents in sealed bags, and off the ground in sealed waterproof totes if possible and take them with you if you evacuate.

Don’t forget the pets! Be sure you have stocked food for them and have a pet-friendly plan if you need to evacuate.

DAMAGE BUDDY TIPKeep your car fully fueled during hurricane season and keep a small amount of cash aside in the event you have to evacuate.

How do I stay safe during the storm?

Always stay indoors during the storm. If you live in a mobile home or in a flood zone you should evacuate. Stay away from windows and doors. Go to an interior room, a closet or downstairs room. The basement is the safest place if there is no danger of flooding. Do not go outside until you are certain the storm has passed.

Some “don’ts”:

  • Do not open any windows.
  • Don’t use a charcoal grill indoors.
  • Be cautious of any electrical items if you see signs of flooding. Turn off the power.
  • Do not empty your in-ground pool.

What do I do after a hurricane?

Continue to monitor all advisories. If you have evacuated, don’t return or enter your home until you know it is safe. Beware downed power lines and follow the routes advised by authorities. If you suspect a gas leak, stay out of the house and call the gas company. Keep your power off if you see flooding or water damage. Document any damage. Call  your insurance company. Stay out of any standing water. They can carry bacteria or hidden debris.Look carefully for any water damage or leaking.

If you see water damage contact a water damage restoration and remediation specialist immediately.  They will take steps to mitigate the damage and restore you home.

Is there special hurricane insurance?

Flood damage is usually not covered by homeowners policies. Many people purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance program. You can also purchase windstorm coverage. Check with a reliable insurance company to be sure you understand your coverage and have adequate insurance. It is handy to have photos of your home’s contents and you should report your claim as soon as possible.  You should also photograph any damage when you can safely do so.

What is a property damage attorney?

These attorneys specialize in assisting homeowners whose insurance claim has been denied, or been underpaid and represent homeowners to get the maximum payout from their insurance companies. They work with public adjusters and contractors to help resolve claims. But beware, they do take a portion of the claim themselves so be sure you do your homework, and that you really need this assistance.