Melissa N. Osika, MBA
Hurricanes are one of the most damaging natural disasters. In fact, from 1980 to 2020, the total approximate cost of damages from weather and climate disasters in the United States was $1.875 trillion. In 2020 alone, the United States experienced $22 billion dollars in disaster damage.1
Hurricane season starts at the beginning of June and doesn’t end until November. With the thousands of miles of coastline in the United States, the chance of substantial damage occurring is high. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), coastal shoreline counties create 40 percent of America's jobs and are responsible for 46 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.2 When a hurricane hits, the effect can be felt on a greater economic level, not just within the impacted region.
You can never be too prepared for a natural disaster. The five tips below are meant to help you and your family feel more prepared in the event that a hurricane strikes.
Tip #1: Make a Plan
If you don’t already have one, you need to make a plan. What would you and your family do if there were to be a major hurricane in your area? How would you prepare your house for the worst-case scenario? Sit down with your family and discuss what you should do before hurricane season arrives. Make a plan for rain- and wind-proofing your home, evacuating quickly and/or supplying backup power to your home for several days.
Tip #2: Keep Accessible Supplies
You should have accessible supplies in the event that you either have to evacuate quickly or shelter in place.
This emergency supply kit should at minimum include:
- Water (One gallon per person per day)
- Non-perishable food
- Batteries and a radio
- Personal hygiene items
- First-aid kit
- Copies of important documents (passport, birth certificate, insurance policies, etc.)
FEMA recommends that your go-bag includes enough supplies for three days. If you want to prepare to shelter in place, an at-home emergency kit should be able to last your family for up to two weeks.
Tip #3: Have an Evacuation Scenario
Having an evacuation plan that all family members are familiar with beforehand can help increase your chances of safety and reduce panic. Run through an evacuation plan with everybody who lives in your household at least once a year.
Some things to go over include:
- Where you will go
- The route you will take
- Necessary items each family member will need to bring
Tip #4: Take Inventory of Your Possessions
Conduct a home inventory that includes photographs, receipts, valuations and digital back-ups. Keeping a thorough record of your belongings will be helpful if you have to make an insurance claim regarding lost or damaged possessions. Keep a record of your home inventory with your emergency kit or to-go bag, so it's easily accessible in case of emergency.
Tip #5: Check What Your Insurance Policy Covers
Homeowner’s insurance will generally cover the damage made to your house’s structure in the event of a natural disaster. However, areas with higher hurricane risk may carry higher hurricane deductibles on homeowner’s insurance. Make sure you’re familiar with your insurance’s hurricane policy and prepare an emergency fund to cover costs for repairs and rebuilds.
Something to keep in mind is flood insurance. Even if your insurance policy carries hurricane coverage, flood coverage is a separate, federally-backed option for homeowners. It is advisable to look into acquiring flood insurance in order to avoid extra damage costs.
It is better to be prepared in the event that disaster strikes, as hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage. Take the proper measures to adequately insure and protect your home, possessions and loved ones so that you can enjoy the months ahead with less worry.
Contact us if you would like help in implementing any of these tips.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.