Like everything else in 2020, hurricane season is no exception, as forecasters are predicting an “above normal” season, and we have already had several major storms impact parts of the U.S.
Next time the forecast calls for heavy downpours and high winds, keep the following in mind:
- If a storm causes a tree to fall on your home, garage, fence, outdoor building, dock, or other permanent structures, your homeowner’s policy should cover any and all structural damage.
- Your homeowner’s insurance most likely won’t cover the cost to remove any downed trees or other debris.
- If, by chance, your policy does cover debris removal, it won’t be 100%. Tree removal can cost up to $2,000-6,000 depending on the size of the debris field, how many trees are down, and how big they are.
If large trees surround your home, maintain and inspect them regularly. Removing a few proactively, before a storm has the opportunity, will save you time, money, and definitely a few headaches.
In addition to being prepared in the above way, here are five questions to assess your preparedness:
- Is your home in a flood zone? If you’ve recently moved or haven’t examined it in years, use the FEMA Flood Map Service Center to search by address.
- Do you need flood insurance? Homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage, so a separate policy is necessary — especially if your home lies in a high-risk area. Be aware new policies take thirty days to go into effect.
- Do you have a safe place to go in case of evacuation? Before a storm is churning, have a plan for where you, your loved ones, and your pets will go.
- Is it time for you to consider hurricane impact windows or shutters, a portable generator, or a chainsaw? Consider using your tax refund or stimulus payment to purchase improvements or tools that will ease your burden should a hurricane impact your area.
- Are my legal documents easily accessible? Collect and protect documents like passports, birth certificates, marriage licenses, deeds, wills, and education records. It’s also wise to have a hard copy of your current homeowner’s policy.
By preparing now, you will have peace of mind should a storm head your way.