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Evaluating Hurricane Preparedness: What to Look for in a Coastal Home

The hurricane season lasts from June to November, and seasoned residents living in coastal regions take hurricane preparedness seriously. If you’re considering purchasing a coastal property for the first time, familiarize yourself with the additional responsibilities required when living in these areas.

Property Insurance

When preparing for a hurricane, obtain the necessary insurance coverage to protect your home in the event of a catastrophe. Many homeowners fail to realize their insurance coverage is lacking until it’s too late, resulting in thousands of lost dollars vital for home repairs, temporary housing and personal property replacement. Common types of homeowners insurance coastal residents should consider include:

  • Flood insurance
  • Personal property replacement
  • Hurricane coverage
  • Loss of use

Contact your insurance agent annually to verify that your policy is up to date and carries your desired coverage amounts.

Preparing Your Home

Homeowners facing a potential hurricane should take measures to minimize the potential damage their homes could endure. High winds associated with hurricanes can turn simple items into deadly projectiles.

Be sure to secure outdoor items, such as lawn furniture, garden tools and other objects that could become deadly during a storm. Also, trim and remove any dead tree limbs that could damage your home should they snap.

Hurricane Shutters

Purchasing and installing hurricane shutters for your home is a wise idea. After a hurricane warning is issued, many homeowners scramble in search of plywood to board up their homes, but supplies run short, and the process is labor intensive.

Many types of hurricane shutters are designed to provide a permanent solution for your home. The durable shutters are custom-made for your home and permanently affixed to the structure or stored on site. Peruse the selection of hurricane shutters at your local home improvement center and select a product right for your house.

Protecting Your Family

You should always follow official recommendations during an impending hurricane warning. If ordered to evacuate, do so without a second thought. Many people choose to ignore these warnings and attempt to ride out the storm, but this puts their lives and the lives of the first responders trying to save them in danger.

Hurricanes are intense weather systems that can cause severe property and infrastructure damage. It’s common for areas hit by a major storm to be without electricity, water and other municipal services for days or weeks at a time.

Plan your escape before the storm hits and give yourself plenty of time to leave to avoid potential traffic jams; if possible, book hotel accommodations or make arrangements with friends or family living inland. Additionally, familiarize yourself with official storm shelters in your area.

Don’t Forget Your Pets

You should also have an emergency plan for any household pets. It’s inhumane to leave your pets behind when fleeing a hurricane or major storm, and when forgotten or abandoned, they’re often left homeless and wandering the streets without food or water.

Take your pets with you or board them in a safe shelter inland and away from the potential storm. Include a supply of pet food and medication in your hurricane preparedness plans, as well.

Hurricane Kit Checklist

After a major storm, supplies such as food, water and other essentials run short. Store shelves are empty, and deliveries can be sporadic due to travel limitations. Since the chance of power outages during and after a storm runs high, you should purchase supplies beforehand to help you persevere through the power outage and storm aftermath.

As suggested by the National Hurricane Center, prepare a basic disaster supplies kit, including the following items:

  • Clean water: Water is essential, and you’ll need at least one gallon per day for every person.
  • Nonperishable food supplies: Pack food supplies lasting three to seven days for each person.
  • Money: Cash on hand is necessary, as ATMs and banks could be out of operation due to power loss.
  • Light sources: Flashlights, batteries, candles and lanterns will provide illumination during evening hours.
  • Generator: A gas- or propane-powered generator can generate electricity during a power outage.
  • Fuel: Store charcoal for cooking and gasoline or propane for automobiles and generators.
  • Radio: A battery-operated radio will restore communications to receive storm updates.
  • First aid kit: A first aid kit is essential. You should also store medications, both over the counter and prescription, if applicable.
  • Pet supplies: Always pack pet food and pet medications.
  • Toiletries: Bathroom tissue, toothpaste and other supplies will come in handy and are often overlooked.
  • Garbage bags: Garbage bags can come in handy for many things.

Knowing this information provides a good start toward hurricane preparedness and understanding the considerations for living on a coastal property. However, you should also consider the individual needs applicable to each person in your party. For a wealth of valuable real estate information, services, listings and other useful tips and tricks, visit Owners.com.

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