Ways to Protect Losses before a Hurricane Strikes
After purchasing flood insurance, there are several ways you can minimize losses in your home and ensure your family’s safety.
- Safeguard your possessions: Sometimes we know how to get the family out, but what about the evidence that your house is yours. Create a personal flood file containing information about all your possessions and keep it in a secure place, such as a safe deposit box or waterproof container. This file should have:
- A copy of your insurance policies with your agents contact information.
- Conduct a household inventory: For insurance purposes, be sure to keep a written and visual (i.e., videotaped or photographed) record of all major household items and valuables, even those stored in basements, attics or garages. Create files that include serial numbers and store receipts for major appliances and electronics. Have jewelry and artwork appraised. These documents are critically important when filing insurance claims.
- Copies of all other critical documents, including finance records or receipts of major purchases.
- Prepare your house.
- First make sure your sump pump is working and then install a battery-operated backup, in case of a power failure. Installing a water alarm will also let you know if water is accumulating in your basement.
- Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.
- Anchor any fuel tanks.
- Raise your electrical components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring) at least 12 inches above your home’s projected flood elevation. This should be carried out by qualified maintenance staff or professional contractors licensed to work in your state, county, or city.
- Place the furnace, water heater, washer, and dryer on cement blocks at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.
- Move furniture, valuables, and important documents to a safe place.
- Develop a family emergency plan.
- Create a safety kit with drinking water, canned food, first aid, blankets, a radio, a flashlight, and extra batteries.
- Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone and teach your children how to dial 911.
- Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family. Know safe routes from home, work, and school that are on higher ground. It is important that your family is as quick as a flash flood.
- Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be your emergency family contact.
- Don’t forget pets! Have a plan to protect your fluffy/scaly/feathery family members as well. Whether to have them travel with you, or stay in a shelter.