For many homeowners here in Texas, the risk of hurricanes is just a fact of life they have to live with, especially along the Gulf coast. May is a great time to prepare yourself and your home for hurricane season so that you and your family don’t get caught out in a storm.
Preparing Your Home’s Structure for a Storm
To prepare the physical structure of your home for a storm, start at the top. If your roof is in poor repair, it’s an invitation for pounding rains to tear into your home and cause not only structural damage but damage to your personal belongings, too. Have your roof inspected regularly for cracked or missing tiles or shingles and get it fixed promptly.
When it comes time for a new roof, consider getting the roof deck sealed, too. It costs more, but provides a barrier to keep moisture from seeping through. Hurricane straps are another worthwhile additional expense that can prevent your roof from being lifted off by the force of high winds. If you have an overhanging porch roof or other structure, make sure that the supporting pillars are firmly attached to the ground, for the same reason.
After your roof is taken care of, check on your door and window seals. The hot Texas sun beating down can wear them down fast. The severe wind of a hurricane can push rain right through poor seals, causing property damage fast. Make sure any cable or wire entry points into your home are properly sealed, too.
You can also protect your structure by making sure any nearby trees are kept well-pruned and in good health, as it’s virtually a guarantee that dead or dying branches will be torn off by the wind. Similarly, if you know a storm is coming, bring in any outdoor furniture or equipment that isn’t well-secured. Dead branches and patio furniture alike can become deadly missiles, causing considerable damage to your home and possibly even endangering your life—or someone else’s.
Check Your Insurance Policy
The number one thing that you can do before a storm strikes is to review your homeowner’s insurance policy. If you still owe money on your home, your lender almost always requires you to carry a policy, but even if you’re all paid off, you should still carry insurance. You should regularly review the amount of coverage that your policy has, especially if prices have gone up since last time you checked—otherwise, you could find yourself paying more out of pocket when it comes time to rebuild after a disaster.
Consider Adding Flood Insurance
Speaking of insurance, you may consider adding a flood insurance policy for your home, too. Even if you’re not in the direct path of the storm, the resulting flood waters can cause massive damage for many, many miles. Flooding is almost never covered under any standard homeowner’s insurance policy, yet it’s one of the most common (and expensive) forms of damage. Not only does flood insurance protect you from flooding in case of hurricanes, but you’re also covered in many other flood situations, too.
Making Your Insurance Claim
You can’t stop a hurricane, but you can prepare for it. By making sure your home is structurally ready to weather a storm, you may be able to minimize the damage. However, ultimately, there’s no stopping the “storm of the century” when it comes. It’s best to carry a good insurance policy to help you rebuild and replace your personal belongings when the worst happens.
If you believe your insurance company isn’t acting in good faith about your storm damage claim when you know that the damage should be covered under your policy, the best move may be to contact an attorney. Your attorney will be able to help you negotiate the claims process, and even take your insurer to court to seek the money that you’re owed.
Wayne Wright LLP has spent years seeking justice for homeowners whose insurance companies have failed them. When you need our help, we’ll be there by your side to help you rebuild your life every step of the way. To talk to a legal professional about your situation, call us by telephone, use the live chat box, or click the contact link on this page to email us for a free, no-obligation consultation.