Whether you live, plan to visit, or have friends or family on the east coast, now is the time to be alert to the dangers of hurricanes.
Major damage to infrastructure can restrict public access to transportation, power, and in some cases, even food and water. While the most severe damage occurs along coastlines, heavy rains can cause flash floods and landslides up to 40 km inland. The best way to reduce your vulnerability is to take control of your personal preparations.
Here are 6 ways to protect your property during hurricane season.
If a hurricane warning is posted (stay up-to-date on public weather alerts for Canada), make sure to move all patio furniture, garbage and recycling bins, and barbecues into the garage so as to prevent them from smashing into windows or doors.
Damage caused by falling trees during natural disasters is a major source of insurance claims. Remove all unhealthy tree branches around your property well in advance of a hurricane watch so they don’t break off and hit your roof, car, windows, etc.
In the garden, replace any gravel or stone landscaping materials with shredded bark so no damage will be caused to windows if strong winds cause it to blow up and hit the house.
Garage doors are designed to be lightweight so they can be raised and lowered, which makes them vulnerable during hurricane season. Before you store outdoor furniture or any other items in your garage, reinforce the door. A hurricane-resistant retrofit kit comes with braces and hardware and will cost about $500.00 for a double garage door. You can install braces yourself if you have basic drill skills.
If your roof is in disrepair before a hurricane, you may not be covered for damage. Don’t wait for a hurricane warning or a leak to consider which roofing material is right for you. Depending on what your roof is made of, a replacement or repairs may be needed after 15 – 30 years.
Installing gutter guards and making sure exterior drains are free of debris can also help maintain your roof by preventing water from pooling.
Windows and doors
The strongest doors to withstand strong winds have three hinges and a dead-bolt lock with a bolt at least 2.5 cm long. Hinges should be securely anchored to the wall framing with screws. Double doors should be secured with both head and foot bolts.
Anti-shatter weather protection film can be applied to the interior of window glass to reinforce windows. While it may not be guaranteed to prevent glass from shattering, it will hold broken glass in place if struck with debris, preventing shards from blowing indoors. It can also protect against water damage after glass breaks, another serious concern during hurricanes.
Inside the home
Check your attic’s ventilation. Vents on gable end walls and soffits on both eave and gable end walls provide entry points for water. Vents can be fitted with storm panels or shutters similar to those used to protect windows. These will be most effective if made of flat material that adheres tightly to the wall.
Prepare copies of important personal or financial documents and keep them in a safe or an alternate location, such as inside your household emergency preparedness kit.
The most important part of protecting your home during hurricane season is checking to make sure your insurance needs are met. Our all risk insurance covers the most common risks that could directly damage your property, including fire, damage due to wind, certain types of water damage, and falling objects.
Do you know what your policy includes? If not, contact your insurer to go over your coverage and determine whether additional protection is in order.