Floods, wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, hail and tropical storms are all classified as natural disasters. Depending on the season, a natural disaster could strike at anytime, and your home could suffer serious damage because of it. This is why it is so important that you reinforce your home to prevent unnecessary damage and keep repair costs to a minimum.
1. Make Sure You Have Homeowner’s Insurance
Note that homeowner’s insurance is different from mortgage insurance. It’s not always easy to come up with the money for repairs with only a moment’s notice, and they could be costly. Homeowner’s insurance doesn’t always offer full coverage for damage to a home due to a natural disaster. Your homeowner’s insurance may include partial insurance for your home for specific natural disasters. While being prepared and having money put away for emergency repairs are responsible things to do, the best alternative may be to get separate insurance in your state for the natural disasters most likely to hit if your homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover it.
Hurricanes and Tropical Storms
These are likely to hit on the east coast. Be prepared by having hurricane shutters installed, an extra strong garage door and reinforcing the frame of your home with hurricane straps. A contractor will know what hurricane straps are and how to install them.
Hail could damage the roof, glass windows and doors and siding of your home. In addition to installing hurricane shutters on your windows and possibly your doors, you should make sure you have roof hail damage insurance.
Protect your home from a tornado by bracing the gables of the roof and reinforcing the sheathing underneath the shingles or outer roofing.
2. Have a Safe Room
Build a standard safe room for tornadoes. This room may offer some protection when other disasters strike too, like hurricanes. A basic room of this type that accommodates 16 people costs around $3,000 to build. Your safe room could double as a utility closet or storage room at other times.
Wildfires can be caused by lightening, human negligence or lava from volcanoes. Minimize the possibility of your home being damaged by a wildfire by creating a distance of 30 feet between your home and all dead foliage that could catch fire as well as any trees. This may be drastic, but it’s also recommended to install mesh screening under porches and decks, over vents, openings in your roof and over the entire outside of your home. This makes it almost impossible for flaming debris and flying sparks to light your home on fire.
Secure heavy objects, like cabinets, shelves, TVs and bookcases to walls or the floor using brackets, safety straps and cables.
Elevate appliances in your home, especially the furnace, water heater and electric panels. It’s probably not a good idea to have them in your basement, since that’s where flood water will usually collect first.
Use a waterproofing compound on your basement’s walls so water can’t get in. Also, put two-port check-valves in your drains so that floodwater can’t back up.
3. Find Out What Was Damaged and Have Repairs Done Quickly
Immediately after a disaster, note the date, and check your roof and home for damage both inside and out. On your roof, look for torn, broken or missing shingles. Take pictures, have the appropriate repair workers come and give you estimates of repair costs, and then contact your insurance company or have repairs done. Whether you’re dealing with your homeowner’s insurance or specific natural disaster insurance, if your insurance company is giving you trouble about covering costs, which are stipulated in the contract, then call a public adjuster to get help with your insurance provider.
To prevent the possibility of a natural disaster costing you extra money, do what you can to keep damage to a minimum. For example, use mulch or something similar instead of loose stones for paths and driveways, remove any weak branches from nearby trees, and make sure there is the least possibility of water getting into your home through spaces or gaps in windows and doors.
Featured photo credit: WikiMedia via upload.wikimedia.org
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