Hurricane season lasts from June until November. Hurricanes can’t be prevented, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, and your belongings from damage.
Before a Hurricane
- Plan your evacuation route and create an emergency preparedness kit or “go bag” for your family and pets.
- Prepare a home inventory of all your personal property, in case of damages.
- Check your residential property policy to see what’s covered in the case of a hurricane and what deductible you’ve chosen.
- Inland Texas homeowners policies usually cover losses from windstorms. But if you live in one of the 14 Texas Gulf Coast counties (or part of Harris County) you may need a separate windstorm policy.
- Most homeowners and renters policies don’t cover flood damage. Consider buying flood insurance.
- Check your auto policy to see if you have Comprehensive (other than Collision) coverage. Comprehensive coverage pays to repair or replace your car if it’s damaged or destroyed by hail, wind, fire, or flood.
How to Reduce Hurricane Damage
- Identify and consider removing any dead limbs, or downed branches that may fall and damage buildings or other structures.
- Move cars, lawn furniture, and other outdoor equipment inside to minimize flying debris.
- Consider replacing gravel or rock landscaping with shredded bark, which is lighter and won’t cause as much damage.
- Make sure exterior doors are hurricane proof and have at least three hinges and a dead bolt lock that is one inch (III).
- Consider storm shutters or boards to protect your windows and sliding glass doors.
- Replace old garage doors and tracks with doors that are approved for both wind pressure and impact protection.
- Seal outside wall openings – vents, outdoor electrical outlets, locations where pipes or cables go through the wall – to prevent water from getting in.
After a Hurricane
- Report any damage to your insurance company as soon as possible. Do not enter affected areas or damaged buildings until you are told that they are safe.
- If you can’t live in your home because of hurricane-related damage, your policy may cover additional living expenses (ALE) such as hotel bills or meals. Save any related receipts and make sure your insurer knows how to contact you.
- Take photos or videos of damage.
- Make a detailed list of all damaged personal property. Use your home inventory list to help with this process.
- Get your property inspected and get a written estimate. Review any contracts before signing.
- Only make emergency repairs before your insurance company’s inspection. Be careful during clean up!
- Hire a qualified and insured contractor to do the repairs.
- Keep receipts and records of all communications regarding repairs.
- Double-check that the repairs are completed, then take photos or videos for your records.