The 7 Things that Stand Between Your Home and a Hurricane

By Diane Tait

Image courtesy Pixabay

Now that we’re in the middle of hurricane season, I thought it time to give you a little head’s up on several things that keep your home from being wrecked by a named storm.  Depending on when your home was built could make all the difference between the amount of damage done to it when the wind shrieks and the rain comes down in buckets.   Below are seven areas you should investigate before the next hurricane is announced on TV.

      1.      Can the lack of one nail cost you your roof? It can if your home was built before 2001.  That’s when new homes were required to have a third nail added to the metal hurricane straps that secure a roof to the walls.  Any home in Florida built before 2001 has its roof attached by a pair of nails driven diagonally into both sides of the rafters or truss.  So important is this single difference that section 4 of the wind mitigation inspection asks whether there are 2 or 3 nails securing the roof to the rafters or truss.  Having a third nail isn’t only more secure, it can save you 20% or more on your homeowner’s insurance.     

Can an older home be retrofitted with hurricane straps?  If you lose sleep worrying that your roof may blow off during a hurricane, there are contractors in Florida that specialize in retrofitting older homes with hurricane straps.  The process typically costs between $850 and $1,350, including the wind mitigation inspection that will be filed with your insurance company. 

      2.      When is the last time you looked up at your roof?   When it comes to property damage, water trumps wind every time.  If your roof is showing the effects of age and/or neglect, it may not be able to accomplish its number one duty of keeping the rain off your head.  It will also have a hard time keeping together when the wind whips up or when hail falls from the sky.  If you think a blue plastic tarp can protect your property when the wind tops 75 MPH, you’re in for a rude awakening. 

If you haven’t given your roof a second thought in years, call a local roofer for a free inspection. – As a roof ages, wind and weather work to erode its ability to keep your home watertight.  Something as simple as loose shingles, cracked flashing, or the growth of moss on the roof can indicate more serious problems that can conspire to make a roof fail during a severe storm.  The time to have your roof inspected and repaired or replaced is before a named storm has your town in its sites.

      3.      Are your doors and windows up to the task of protecting your home from flying debris?  Not if they’ve been neglected for years.  If you can see daylight coming in under your doors, this indicates the weatherstripping is worn out or missing.  The same holds true if the windows rattle in their frames when you open or close them.  If you can feel a draft entering your home when the wind is blowing, what chance do you think they’ll have of stopping hurricane-force winds?  If you haven’t inspected your doors and windows for wear and tear, now is the time to do so.  Were a window to blow out or the water to rise, you could soon find yourself ankle deep in floodwater. 

Image courtesy Pixabay
      4.      Are your trees too close for comfort?   If you’ve ever seen storm winds whip a tree around, then you know that flailing limbs can peel shingles or gutters off a roof.  They can also shatter windows or dislodge siding from the side of a house.  Once any of these are compromised, water can easily find its way into your home.  To stay on the safe side, tree limbs should never be allowed to grow any closer than 10-feet from a home.  It’s especially important to have low hanging limbs trimmed and weak or damaged ones removed to prevent them from damaging a structure or shattering a window when the wind howls outside. 

      5.      How can your gutters do their job if they’re clogged with leaves?  Another common source of water damage are clogged gutters.  Once they get stuffed with leaves and twigs, the water that’s supposed to stream away from your home can percolate atop the roof to gain entry.  Water leaking between exterior and interior walls isn’t just a recipe for flooding, it can also cause mold to form or electrical shorts to occur.  The best way to prevent gutter clogs is to make sure you clean them out before hurricane season starts.

      6.      How old is your home’s electrical system?  Wind and water aren’t the only kinds of damage that a named storm can inflict.  Tropical storms and hurricanes pack a punch by delivering thousands of lightning strikes.  Lightning isn’t only capable of setting a roof ablaze, it can also cause untold damage to everything from wiring to appliances and electronics.  If you live in a home that’s more than 20-years old, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a licensed electrician make sure your home’s electrical system is up to code.  It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to add surge suppressors to either your home or any circuits that are hooked up to expensive electronics and appliances.

      7.      Have you spoken to your insurance agent lately? If not, you may come to find that your property isn’t sufficiently protected.  If it’s been more than a year since you last spoke to your agent, the value of your property not to mention the coverage needed to replace your home may have soared beyond the limits you selected when you bought your homeowner’s policy.  If you’ve done any upgrades or added any new structures to your property, these may not be covered either.  If worse comes to worse and you need to file a claim after a storm passes, you need to know if you have sufficient coverage to make your property whole again.

Diane Tait owns and operates A&B Insurance.  To find out more about how you can save money on insurance, go to her site or fill out the form at right.

 

Comments

  1. All it takes for water to make its way into your home is the tiniest of holes or cracks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. These are all excellent tips, thanks!

    ReplyDelete

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