How To Prepare Your House For Hurricane Season In Florida
Living in Florida is like a dream for most of the year. However, during hurricane season - which lasts for 5 months - that dream can seem like a nightmare. In addition to fears about your own safety, you may be concerned about how your home will survive a major hurricane or even a tropical storm.
Fortunately, there are things that you can do now - before hurricane season begins - to prepare and protect your home. This planning includes everything from reviewing your insurance coverage to trimming trees to having your roof inspected. You should also assemble an emergency kit with food, water, and other necessary supplies.
At Eaton Realty, we know that living in Florida means living with the reality of hurricanes. Our goal is to get our clients into great homes - and ensure they understand what they can do to prepare for this dangerous time of year. Contact our real estate team today if you want to buy or sell a house in the greater Tampa region.
The Dangers of Hurricanes and Tropical Storms
In Florida, many people take hurricanes and tropical storms for granted. Hurricanes and tropical storms are just the price of living in paradise for most Floridians.
For the Atlantic Ocean, hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30. They can cause significant damage due to high winds, storm surges, flooding, and rip currents. Hurricanes and tropical storms can also be fatal, with over 18,000 estimated deaths because of hurricanes and tropical cyclones in the United States between 1988 to 2019.
Hurricanes and tropical storms also cause a substantial amount of property damage. In 2022 alone, climate-related disasters - including hurricanes - cost $165 billion in damages. Hurricane Idalia alone caused an estimated $3.6 billion in damage.
For individual homeowners, the impact of a hurricane can be devastating. Even if you can safely ride out the storm, your home may experience substantial damage. While preparing for a hurricane may not prevent all losses, it can help to reduce the risk of damage.
Preparing Your House for Hurricane Season
Before hurricane season starts in Florida on June 1, you should take several basic steps to prepare your home for hurricane season. You can spread these action items out throughout the year, such as purchasing emergency supplies so that you are not rushing at the last minute to try to prep your house or get necessary items together to evacuate.
Check Your Roof
Roof damage is incredibly common during hurricanes. Due to fierce winds and lashing rain, you may lose shingles, tiles, or even the entire roof. Water can also damage the structure of the roof itself, which can lead to leaks or even a collapse of the roof.
Before hurricane season starts, have a roof inspector visit your property. They can let you know if your roof needs to be replaced or repaired. This may include installing hurricane straps, replacing loose and missing braces, sealing cracks, and replacing or repairing loose shingles.
Protect Doors and Windows
In addition to your roof, doors and windows are at a high risk of damage from high winds. In many cases, doors and windows are damaged when hit by flying projectiles (such as tree limbs or even your own outdoor furniture).
If you can afford to do so, installing storm shutters during the off-season is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of storm damage. Otherwise, you can nail sheets of plywood over your windows and doors before a hurricane to protect them.
Secure Outdoor Structures and Furniture
As noted above, flying projectiles can damage your house - including ones from your own yard. Before a hurricane, you should bring inside or secure any loose items such as grills, patio furniture, and even potted plants. If you have outdoor structures, like sheds, carports, or play sets, ensure they are appropriately anchored.
In addition to securing items that could become projectiles, you should also look around your yard to check the landscaping. Trim your trees so they don’t hit your house, and cut back any dead or damaged limbs.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Part of preparing your home for a hurricane involves ensuring that the people who live in the house have adequate supplies. An emergency kit can help you get through the hurricane and the following days and weeks.
An emergency kit should include:
- A fire extinguisher
- First aid items
- Prescription medications
- A radio
- Spare batteries
- A backup battery for cell phones
- Basic tools (like a wrench) to turn off the power, gas, or other utilities
- Matches or a lighter in a waterproof bag
- Important documents in a waterproof bag
- Mosquito repellent
- Bottled water
- Non-perishable foods
- Gasoline if you have a generator
- Food and medicine for pets
- A full tank of gas in your vehicle
Many of these items will need to be updated or replaced on a regular basis. Before the start of every hurricane season, take some time to review your emergency kit and ensure it is ready to go.
In addition to putting together these items, you can fill your bathtub with water before the storm hits in case you lose water service. While you won’t be able to drink the water, it can be used for cleaning and to flush the toilet.
Make an Evacuation Plan
Evacuation during a hurricane often isn’t necessary. However, if the state or local government orders you to evacuate, then it is critical that you have a plan. This plan should include where you will go, how you will get there, what you will take, and how to ensure that loved ones are safe. Your evacuation plan should also include your pets.
While you may not ultimately need your evacuation plan, it is better to have one so that you do not panic during an emergency. You should also have an emergency kit for your car, and make sure to secure your home to the best of your abilities before you leave.
Review Your Insurance Coverage
One of the most important things that you can do to prepare for a hurricane is to take the time to go over your insurance policy. In more severe storms, there may be little that you can do to prevent damage or even the loss of your home. Having the proper insurance is critical to protect yourself financially.
Many insurance policies contain exclusions, particularly in areas prone to hurricanes and flooding, like Florida. You may need a separate policy - such as flood insurance - to fully protect yourself. You should contact your insurance agent if you have questions about your coverage.
Looking To Sell Your Home in Hillsborough County? Give Us a Call
You work hard to protect and grow your investment in your home - including weatherproofing it for storms. When the time comes to sell your home, our realtors can help. We bring over 140 years of combined experience to the table, and we can ensure you receive top dollar for your home.
Based in Lithia, Eaton Realty represents buyers and sellers throughout Hillsborough County. Contact our team to speak to a realtor about selling a house in the greater Tampa metro area. You can fill out an online contact form or call us at 813-672-8022.