Your Guide to Handling Hurricanes & Severe Storms

Hurricane Prep & Handling Damages

If you live or operate a business in a region prone to hurricanes or tropical storms, taking the time to prepare before a weather event can mean the difference between a short repair process and paying thousands of dollars in damages out-of-pocket.

Making Your Property Storm-Resistant

A home or storefront with storm-resistant features is not only more likely to weather a hurricane with minimal damages, but you may also get additional benefits, such as lower windstorm and flood insurance rates.

If you're in the process of purchasing a property, or have recently done so, make sure to ask the previous owner as to whether their home has received any windstorm certifications, as well as when any home repairs or additions occurred (such as a new roof). Certifications to receive an insurance discount often need to occur during the construction process, plus you'll want to be aware of any gaps in your property's storm-resistant features.

Even if your property wasn't certified, you can still get an inspector to review your home's storm damage mitigation features and make recommendations. Getting an inspection can be free in some states, such as Florida and Texas. You can also ask your insurer for recommendations, which they'll be happy to offer since it reduces their own risk.

Common Storm Mitigation Features

  • Hurricane shutters
  • Impact-rated glass on doors and windows
  • Reinforced roof-to-wall connections
  • Roof-deck attachment
  • Roof covering, shape and bracing
  • Storm resistant doors and garage doors
  • Secondary water resistance

Insuring Your Property Against a Hurricane

Depending on where you live, and your insurer, you may need a combination of homeowners, flood, and windstorm insurance policies to protect your home against the different forms of damage a hurricane may cause. This is because most homeowners policies specifically exclude flood damage, and insurers may exclude damage from wind and hail in storm-prone regions.

If you have a mortgage and live in a moderate to high-risk flood zone, you will likely be required to purchase flood insurance, either through the NFIP or a private insurer. It's also typically a good idea since, if you have a gap in coverage, your claim following a hurricane may not be covered.

Cars, boats, motorcycles and other vehicles would need their own insurance policies, and hurricane damage would only be covered if you have comprehensive coverage.

States with the Cheapest NFIP Flood Insurance Rates

U.S. Average

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Gathering Supplies & Tracking a Storm's Progress

Take the time to put together an emergency kit of necessary supplies in the case a storm does come to your region. There are many pre-made emergency supply kits, or you can assemble one yourself. Either way, just make sure to freshen it occasionally, making sure you have the appropriate number of supplies and none are expired.

If a storm is coming your way, you should also identify and gather any items you consider critical or particularly high-value, such as prescription medications, your passport, and infant formula.

Basic Supplies to Gather

  • Non-perishable food
  • Water
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Any tools needed to turn off utilities
  • Garbage bags and moist towelettes
  • Duct tape and plastic sheeting
  • Local map


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