4 Steps Coastal Homeowners Need to Take ASAP to Prepare for Hurricane Season

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KEY POINTS

  • It's best to prepare for hurricanes well in advance of their arrival.
  • Homeowners need to take steps to protect their finances as well as their homes.


Don't wait until there's a hurricane on its way.

We're rapidly approaching the peak of hurricane season, and while it's been pretty quiet so far, there are no guarantees it's going to stay that way. So it's important for coastal homeowners to take key steps now to prepare themselves for the worst. Here are four things to do right away.

1. Review homeowners insurance coverage

Hurricanes can easily wipe out an entire neighborhood, leaving homeowners to rebuild from scratch. But that can be challenging, especially if the home insurance policy limit isn't enough to cover the full cost of a rebuild. Homeowners may have no choice but to build a smaller, cheaper home, move elsewhere, or pay the extra out of their own pocket.

Those who don't want to worry about this should review their home insurance policy limits and ensure they're appropriate based on the latest building costs in the area. Those with questions may be able to get estimates from a local insurance agent or a local builder who's familiar with the building costs in the area.

2. Consider adding storm shutters

Storm shutters protect a home's windows from breaking in a hurricane, which can also protect items inside the home from storm damage. It can cost a few thousand dollars to get storm shutters for a whole house, but it could be worth the investment for homeowners who can afford it. Not only will it reduce the damage in a hurricane, but many home insurers also give discounts to homeowners who install storm shutters.

Homeowners who choose to install these should reach out to their insurer to see if they qualify for any savings. If not, they may want to get some quotes from other companies to see if they can save more elsewhere.

3. Make backups of key documents

It's wise to make backups of key documents, like birth and marriage certificates, and insurance policies. Ideally, homeowners should keep one copy at home and one copy away from the home. A safe deposit box at a bank is a good choice.

This will reduce the risk of loss and spare homeowners the replacement fees people typically pay to order new ones. Keeping copies of insurance documents could also speed the claims filing process because the homeowner will have all of their account information readily available.

4. Have emergency supplies on hand

Stock the home with emergency supplies, like bottled water and flashlights with extra batteries. It's best not to wait until there's word of an impending storm because that's when everyone else will try to buy the same things. Prepare well in advance, but don't go too overboard. Only buy things you know you'll use.

Taking these steps now can't stop a hurricane from upending lives and destroying property, but it can make recovering from them a little bit easier. Even if no hurricanes occur nearby, it's better to be safe than sorry.

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