Our Risk Management team prepared the following suggestions for your consideration—based on decades of firsthand experience—to help you enhance your home’s resiliency in the event of a major storm.
- Back-up generators require routine maintenance. Generators can effectively maintain critical home systems during a power outage, yet they tend to malfunction when least expected. Periodic tests can identify issues prior to an event, but running a generator for an extended period of time taxes older units and quickly depletes fuel sources. Have your generator serviced prior to hurricane season, and don’t delay if repairs are needed. If you have an older unit (15+ years), consider a replacement. And if your generator runs on a finite fuel source, verify that tanks have sufficient fuel to maintain power for several days.
- Impact-rated windows and doors still have vulnerabilities. These products are proven solutions when it comes to withstanding high-velocity impact, but long periods of wind-driven rain can take a toll. Caulking around windows and doors can deteriorate over time. This may lead to leakage, which can ultimately damage flooring, walls and valuables. Have your window and door caulking inspected yearly, and replace it as necessary to help prevent water intrusion.
- Shutter failure is a recurring issue. Shutter installation can take multiple days and arduous effort. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t inspect their shutter systems until they’re needed, which may be too late. Check all shutters and hardware annually, and do it well before the start of hurricane season. Allow sufficient time for installation prior to a storm, so that unexpected issues can be resolved. If your home is not yet shuttered, consider making the investment. Visit www.flash.org or contact your independent insurance advisor for guidance.
- Older roofs are more susceptible. Once wind and water enter the home via the roof, they can quickly wreak havoc inside. Have your roof, soffits and fascia inspected annually. Claims experience has shown that older roofs sustain significantly more damage than newer ones. Replacements should use materials and installation standards that meet or exceed the most up-to-date wind codes.
- Damage to (and caused by) landscaping is a widespread issue. Trees, branches and decorative features such as planters, trellises and statues are all susceptible in high winds. Trim all trees and remove dead branches prior to the start of hurricane season. Overhanging trees should be removed or lifted to prevent damage if the limbs break. Store all decorative items inside, or make plans to secure items that can’t be moved.
For more information on hurricane preparedness, contact your independent insurance advisor.