First things first: If you find yourself in the path of a serious weather-related emergency, please make the safety of you and your family your number one priority! We ask that you only take the steps to protect your home or business if you safely have time to do so. If you are safe and have some prep time, here are some tips that may help minimize damage:
Protecting Your Property:
Clean out your gutters. Remove leaves and other debris, first by hand to get rid of the large particles and then with a scraping tool and water hose. This helps to prevent overflows that could cause interior damage.
Make sure downspouts and window drains properly guide the water away from the structure. Direct downspouts at least 6 feet from the foundation. Clear any obstructions.
Clear your yard of potential flying debris. Store lawn furniture, potted plants, bicycles, trash cans or other loose items.
Protect your windows and glass doors. If you have functional shutters, secure them.
Stock Up on Helpful Supplies:
Test your generator or battery backup. Be prepared for an extended power outage, especially if you have electrically powered medical equipment. Store extra fuel safely and only in approved containers. Don’t operate portable gas generators indoors or in enclosed spaces where it could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Charge your cell phone and any extra batteries. Adjust settings to eliminate non-essential apps and preserve battery life. Store emergency phone numbers in your contacts, including family members, your doctor, your insurance agent and your insurance company’s claims phone number. Keep a paper copy in case you lose power.
Stock up on flashlights, spare batteries, food and water. Keep your emergency kit supplied with provisions for each family member. Don’t forget your pets. Keep extra diapers on hand for little ones.
Check your first aid kit. Keep it stocked with the basics to treat minor scrapes or injuries; in the case of a disaster, emergency medical services may be limited to life-threatening cases. Keep several days’ supply of prescription medications on hand.
Know where your emergency shutoff valves are located. In the event of damage, you may need to cut off electricity, water or gas.
Ongoing Tips to Stay Prepared:
Store a copy of your insurance policy. It’s best to keep a copy offsite, in a safe deposit box or digitally in a location you can access from anywhere. If you must evacuate, take copies of key papers with you, including birth certificates, marriage records, property deeds, bank accounts, etc.
Identify the safe places in your home. Know where to go away from windows, skylights and glass doors in case the storm spawns a tornado.
Keep a home inventory. If a storm is imminent, it may be too late to thoroughly document your belongings, but even taking cellphone photos of each room can help if you need to file an insurance claim later.
Understand what is covered by your insurance policy. It’s important to understand that flood damage may not be covered by your general homeowner’s or business insurance, and that you may want to find out if flood insurance is right for you.
At J.D. Chapman Agency, insurance is not designed to one size fits all. If you have any questions, or do not feel confident that your current insurance policy would adequately protect you from a weather related emergency, please call and speak with one of our local experts at 585-394-5482, or 315-986-4062.
Source: The Cincinnati Insurance Companies