Hurricane-proofing your home is usually called “wind mitigation” – a term you often see while shopping for hurricane insurance. If you take steps to secure your roof against wind damage, it will often save you the most money on your home insurance premium. You can learn more about the technical details of wind mitigation systems in our article “Florida Wind Mitigation Breakdown.”
Unlike reinforcing your roof, the following hurricane-proofing pointers will focus on action items you may be able to handle on your own without a contractor’s help. This includes installing or procuring:
- Secure outdoor furniture
- Install storm shutters
- Brace your doors
- Check your caulk
- Stock up on emergency supplies
- Check your hurricane deductible
This list can serve as both a checklist and a basic shopping list for hurricane season. Let’s review each item.
1. Secure outdoor furniture.
When the wind picks up, loose items in your own backyard can cause big damage to your home.
Think about what you keep outdoors. Do you have patio furniture, planters, or garbage cans? Invest in the receptacles that can safely store these items before a storm approaches, whether that’s a shed or a large storage container anchored securely. You can also secure your patio furniture before inclimate weather hits.
You might also consider reducing the amount of heavy things in your yard or on your patio so you have less to worry about before a storm.
2. Secure your windows.
Shutters and storm-proof glass can make your home more resilient to wind damage
The shutter itself doesn’t need to be a permanent installation, but the tracts and fasteners should be. Invest in high-quality shutters that include these features. If you’re interested in making your own, look for “CDX” on plywood that is at least 5/8 inch thick. Plylox can also be a good option, if available.
Shatter-proof, wind-resistant glass runs about $40 to $50 per square foot. However, this investment can spare you from shattered windows and another entrypoint for stormwater. Plus, this upgrade can help lower home insurance premiums.
3. Brace your doors.
Once your windows are protected, consider your exterior doors.
Fiberglass doors are most secure, as are double doors (an outer and inner door combined in one). They also often come with reinforcement kits for more added protection.
Garage doors can be the largest and the weakest opening to your home. Make sure they are as secure as possible to protect your roof from internal pressure. A combination of horizontal and vertical bracing plates offers good protection. And if a big upgrade is in your cards, remember that metal garage doors are most durable.
4. Check your caulking.
Stormwater can get into more places than a conventional rainstorm. A basic way to fight against water damage is to check the caulking around your home.
This is especially crucial if you have electrical wires coming inside of your home from the outside. Consider sealing the entry point.
5. Stock up on emergency supplies.
Hurricane-proof your house and your home by thinking about what you’ll need to get through the actual ordeal of a hurricane.
Stock your pantry with:
- Non-perishable foods
- Instant meals that can be prepared without heat
For water, a good rule of thumb is one gallon per person, per day.
Now look at your communication devices. Make sure you have a way to power them in an emergency and consider investing in:
- Portable chargers
- Mechanically powered generators
Although medical supplies may be a no-brainer, hygiene supplies are often overlooked. Make sure to pack what you need to keep your body clean and healthy.
6. Check your hurricane deductible.
There’s only so much any human can do to withstand the force of mother nature. That’s why hurricane insurance exists!
Check your home insurance policy’s hurricane deductible. This is the amount you will have to pay before your coverage pays for hurricane wind damage to your home and belongings. Can you comfortably pay this amount out of pocket with little notice? If not, you may want to talk to your insurance agent about lowering your deductible.