So far, hurricane season in the Atlantic has not been much to talk about, but meteorologists are forecasting a change in that activity over the next few weeks. They say weather models have flipped the switch on the hurricane season for the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Ocean, and multiple developments will be possible starting in early September.
September is the peak month for hurricane season, which runs from June to November. With the sleeping giant about to awaken, how bad is the season about to be? It is still hard to predict how bad and when or where a storm might form, but meteorologists are certain that things are about to ramp up.
The average hurricane season sees an average of six hurricanes, but 2017 was much more calamitous than average, with 10 hurricanes including Harvey, Maria, and Irma. It will be hard to top the disastrous season from last year, but with such a quiet August, the expectation is that September may well make up for the past few weeks.
With such predictions on the horizon, it is time to make sure that your ready for disaster when it strikes. Although hurricane season happens every year, it seems to catch people off guard time and time again. So, if you have not yet prepared for hurricane season, now is the time.
Prepare for Evacuation
The National Hurricane Center says that evacuations often occur when a storm surge is approaching the coastline. A typical storm surge can reach over 20 feet high and cover hundreds of miles of shoreline. This makes it imperative to know the evacuation route for your area. Conducting a practice test drive during nice weather is a good idea so that you are not confused and panicked during an actual emergency.
During hurricane season, keep your car gas tank at least half full and make sure you have flares, jumper cables, and blankets stored inside. Be sure to carry a list of important phone numbers, and understand that phone lines can be down or overwhelmed during a natural disaster.
Pack an Emergency Hurricane Evacuation Bag
It is important to pack a supply bag for each member of your family that they can grab in an instant if disaster strikes. Be sure to pack each bag with clean clothes, plastic bags, hygiene products, non-perishable food items, some type of personal identification, medications, and first aid items.
It is also a good idea to pack items such as phone chargers, cash and credit cards, insurance policies, and spare keys. Having one gallon of water for every member of your family that is easily accessible to your car that can be quickly put in the car before you evacuate is a good idea, too.
Do Not Forget Your Pets
Hurricanes are not just stressful for us, they are stressful for our pets, too. Be sure that you find hotels along your evacuation route that will allow pets, and do not forget to pack them food and water.
Riding it Out at Home
If you plan to stay at home during a hurricane, it is important that you prepare a hurricane kit to have when disaster strikes. Fill a waterproof container with things such as flashlights and batteries, a battery powered or hand-crank radio, whistles to signal for help, a local map, and first aid kit. Pack another kit full of clean clothes, blankets, and water in case you have to leave to go to a shelter.
If the power goes out, turn your refrigerator to its lowest setting and open the door only when it is absolutely necessary. This will help keep items inside cooler for longer. Do not ever use generators, charcoal grills, gasoline-powered equipment, or camp stoves inside.
Secure Your Home
Whether you stay home or evacuate, there are certain steps you must take to help protect your home from hurricane winds. Look over your home and secure loose siding or shingles. They can quickly become flying hazards during a hurricane if they have not been repaired. When a hurricane watch or warning announcement is made, cover windows in plywood to protect them from breaking. This will also help prevent rooms from flooding.
Remove and trim any dead tree branches and place outdoor furniture inside or secure it. Make sure gutters and downspouts are clean and clear of debris. Be sure your basement has been waterproofed and consider adding a battery backup to your sump pump.
Make Sure Your Insurance Has the Correct Coverage
Most home policies do not include flood insurance. During hurricane season, it is a good idea to consider adding flood coverage to your policy, even if you do not live right along the coastline. Inland residents may also benefit from having flood coverage when hurricane season strikes. Keep in mind that many insurance policies can take up to 30 days to become active, so act on these changes quickly.
Now is also the time to review your car insurance. You may be forced to leave your vehicle behind and if your car stays outside, your current policy might not cover any damages your vehicle sustains. Making sure you have comprehensive coverage can ensure that the cost of damages is covered.
Proof of Ownership
When you are preparing your hurricane kits, include copies of documents proving ownership of your home, watercraft, an automobile. Attach pictures to the documentation because after a hurricane strikes, insurance companies are extremely busy and having good documentation can help expedite your claim.
Videos are even better than pictures. Consider walking around your home and taking a video to show the integrity of your home and document your personal belongings. Be sure to get exact information about any personal belongings you are worried about losing so it is easier to determine exact compensation for their replacement.
Contact a Florida Hurricane Claim Attorney for Assistance
If you have suffered damages in a hurricane and your insurance company is not offering what you believe to be a fair settlement, that is when a Florida attorney experienced in hurricane claims steps in. The attorneys at Brill & Rinaldi have decades of experience helping clients navigate their way through complex hurricane insurance claims. They can review your situation and work with your insurance company to ensure that you get the compensation for your claim that you deserve. Contact them today to schedule a consultation.