5 WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR HOME FROM SUMMER STORMS
Update your home inventory. This is one of the most important ways to make a homeowners claim go smoothly. Smartphones make it easy to gather the information (many insurers have home inventory apps, or go to (KnowYourStuff.org). Take pictures of your rooms, closets, attic, and your backyard, open drawers and cupboards so everything gets photographed. Keep the photos and copies of receipts for valuable items online or outside of your home, such as with your insurance agent. That way, you can provide the file to the insurer immediately after the disaster and get the ball rolling on your claim.
Make sure you have the right insurance. Let your insurer know if you’ve made any major home improvements — it usually doesn’t cost a lot to add tens of thousands of dollars in extra coverage. Also ask your agent or insurer what isn’t covered by your policy. For example, most homeowners policies don’t automatically cover sewage and drain backups, which can cause expensive damage if water and sewage backs up into your house. That can happen when the storm-water system gets overwhelmed by rain during summer storms. Go to FloodSmart.gov for more information. Don’t wait until a big storm is in the forecast — there’s a 30-day waiting period before flood coverage takes effect. Your homeowners insurance agent may also sell flood coverage.
Know your deductible and boost your emergency fund. You may have little or no insurance coverage for some common storm damage expenses, such as the cost to haul away a fallen tree that doesn’t hit your home. Also, some insurers have special deductibles for windstorms or hurricanes in some higher-risk states; the deductible can be a percentage of your home’s insured value rather than a fixed dollar amount. If you have a 2% windstorm deductible and your property is covered for $300,000, for example, you’ll have to pay $6,000 out of pocket before the coverage kicks in for damages due to a windstorm. But the deductible you selected (such as $500 or $1,000) for other covered damages will still apply.
Take precautions to protect your home. This is a good time of year to trim trees with low-hanging or unhealthy branches that could fall and damage your own or your neighbor’s property. Before a storm, secure furniture and other items in your yard and patio that could become projectiles. Also fix any leaks in your roof, windows or skylights that might seem small now but could cause a lot of damage during a storm.
Sign up for weather alerts and put together an emergency kit. Check out www.phalanxstore.com for emergency and hurricane kits, along with long-term food supplies. Stock up on water and nonperishable foods, don’t forget your pets and medications, and have a portable radio and extra batteries for the radio and flashlight. If you still have a landline, it helps to have an old-style phone you can plug into the wall that can work even if the electricity goes out. Sign up for weather alerts so you’ll have some time to prepare. FEMA has a mobile app that provides alerts from the national weather service for up to five locations, safety reminders and tips, emergency checklists, and a tool that makes it easy to contact FEMA and find shelters. You can also get weather alerts from the National Weather Service and disaster preparedness tips at Ready.gov.
Posted On: July 25, 2018