We have officially gotten our first storm of the season and all before the commencement date of June 1, 2018. Tropical Storm Alberto formed in the Gulf and brought heavy rains, potential flooding, storm surges, and severe winds to the Gulf Coast this past Memorial Day Weekend. South Florida even saw tornado warnings at some points due to Tropical Storm Alberto.
Predictions for this hurricane season have been slightly more optimistic than last year, where we saw a total of 17 named storms formed and 3 major storms striking US soil. This year we can expect 10 to 16 named storms including 5 to 9 hurricanes and 1 to 4 major hurricanes with Category 3 strength or higher. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has stated that there is a 75% chance that the 2018 season will see near or more than the average number of storms in the basin.
Regardless of the type of storm coming (tropical storm or hurricane), it is important to always ensure that you are prepared. Below are some steps to make sure you are ready:
- Always review your insurance policies before or at the start of hurricane season. Make sure you have the appropriate coverage in place. Review your hurricane deductible so that you are not surprised later in the event you have a claim. Also, make sure to review your flood insurance policy to ensure you are fully covered. Remember that your standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover flood damage.
- Take the time before the storm to secure your property as much as possible. Check your shutters or impact windows to make sure they are all in good condition. Decide on a plan to secure your windows if you do not have shutters or impact windows. Also look around your property for tree limbs, unsecured objects, hazards, construction materials, etc. Secure all of these items well in advance of a storm coming.
- Purchase and store the necessary supplies and water to weather the storm, no pun intended. Plan for the worst case scenario. It is better to have too many supplies than not enough. Purchase and safely store gasoline from now. Gasoline becomes more difficult to find once a storm is on its way and gasoline prices tend to surge making it relatively difficult to find.
- If you have a generator, make sure to run it now as a test. Do not wait until the storm is coming to test the generator. It will be difficult to find batteries, oil, parts, etc. at that time.
- Take photos of the interior and exterior of your property as well as your contents prior to the storm to document the condition of the property in the event you have an insurance claim in the future.
Once the storm has passed and you are safe, take photos of and document the damage to your property and contents. Make sure to report it to your insurance company as soon as you can. Remember that your policy requires you to take steps to prevent further damage to the property, so be sure to take the least intrusive measures to protect the property. All repairs should be temporary in nature and only for the purpose of preventing additional damage to the property. No full or permanent repairs should be made until the insurance company has had an opportunity to inspect the damage as doing so could prejudice the insurance company’s investigation and lead to a denial of your claim.
Do not wait until the storm is coming to act. Take advantage of the time you have now, to avoid headaches later!