How to Hurricane Proof Your Home

Sometimes, it feels like we are powerless against the full fury of Mother Nature. When a severe storm is barreling up the coast, with hurricane force winds, heavy rains, or deep snowfall, there is only so much we can do. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything. In fact, there are a number of home improvements and maintenance you can do to mitigate damage during a hurricane or severe storm. 

Cover gaps in your roof. The typical roof has gaps under the shingles which can leave your home vulnerable when high winds are ripping off those shingles. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety “recommends sealing this gap with special tape or other material because when shingles are torn off in a storm, your house essentially becomes an open bucket for the rain, which enters through all the gaps,” says Tanya M. Brown-Giammanco, the IBHS vice president and author of a report on hurricane property damage. 

Seal all gaps. While you’re at it, make sure you block all openings into your house that could let in rain. The Insurance Information Institute recommends looking for vents, outdoor electrical outlets, garden hose bibs, and anywhere cables or pipes are running through wall. A good caulk should do the trick. 

Clear your yard. Don’t forget the obvious—remove anything in your yard that could be turned into a deadly missile under hurricane-force winds. Remove or secure all lawn and patio furniture. Your checklist should include: container plants, hanging baskets, loose tools, bird feeders, wind chimes, and trash cans. Remove any tree branches too close to your home. If you’ve been putting off removal of that dead tree in your backyard, now is the time to do it. Also, the Insurance Information Institute recommends replacing landscaping rocks and gravel with bark which will do less damage in a storm. 

Elevate appliances. If a storm hits and your home is flooding, elevate your appliances to limit the cost of water damage and prevent a fire. Here are the items you should focus on, according to washers and dryers, the furnace, a water heater, the air conditioner unit, and any electrical system components, such as a fuse or circuit breaker box. 

Protect your windows. Installing modern impact-resistant glass and storm shutters is a good long-term solution. If you don’t have storm shutters, covering your windows with plywood is a good temporary measure, according to the Insurance Information Institute. If you’re looking for a quicker more affordable fix, hurricane film ensures that a broken window won’t send deadly shards of glass flying through your home, according to Renovate America

Reinforce Your Doors. Make sure you have a door with three hinges. If you don’t already have one, install a dead bolt that is at least one inch long. Don’t forgot to check your garage door. If it’s old, replace it with a new one that is designed to withstand wind protection and is also impact resistant, according to the Insurance Information Institute

The cost of hurricane and storm damage can be astronomical. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew caused between $4 billion and $6 billion in damage in Florida. Four years earlier, Hurricane Sandy wreaked even more havoc, costing upwards of $70 billion and hitting the Northeast harder than the typical hurricane. With these simple preventive measures you can ensure that you’re one step ahead of future storms and the damage they will inevitably cause.