Protect your property before and after a hurricane hits

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Saturday, April 26, 2014
Hurricane shutters
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Protecting Your Property

If you live away from the coast and have a home along the coast, it's a good idea to have someone at that location watch your home for you. While it might be easy to get to the coast to take care of securing your home, you take a chance of getting caught in the evacuation back inland.

Prior to the storm even approaching North Carolina:

  • See if your home is located in a flood-prone area. You can get this information from your local (city government), your insurance agent, or even your neighbors.
  • Take the time now to do some tedious tasks which will save you time in the long run. These include cleaning your gutters and storm drains. This is to make sure you have no barriers to block water flow once it starts getting heavy.
  • Prune your trees. Remove any dead limbs. You want wind to be able to flow through your tree limbs to lessen the possibility of them being blown over in a heavy wind situation.
  • Take stock of what loose objects you have around the outside of your house such as barbeque grills, birdfeeders, bicycles or toys. Plan where you would stow these items before the emergency situation hits.
  • Speaking of loose items, check the chimney, roof, walls, and foundation of your home for stability. Your home may need to be bolted to its foundation.
  • Learn now how to shut off the water, gas, and electricity to your home.
  • Check to see if your insurance is up to date.
  • Locate your important papers.
  • Take an inventory of your home's contents with pictures or videos. Put them in a safe place.
  • Create a plan to secure your water heater and major appliances as well as heavy pieces of furniture.

What You Need to Know about Insurance

When a storm does come our way, so will insurance adjustors, but rest assured they will be busy.

Two of the biggest concerns after a storm are downed trees and who pays for the damage. Most companies will pay to have trees removed from structures like your home or car. But it's up to you to pay to have trees removed from your yard.

The other concern is inland flooding. Your regular homeowner's insurance won't cover this damage. You can purchase flood insurance through your agent, but it's too late to help you after the storm hits. It must to be bought 30 days before a storm. Call your agent to see if you live in a flood-prone area.

Insurance experts say don't make permanent repairs until you talk to your agent. But sometimes you have to do some Band-Aid work to make your home livable. If you do have to make temporary repairs, keep all receipts.