Are you prepared for the next hurricane season?
Over the past few years, we’ve become very familiar with hurricanes in South Louisiana. Hurricanes are dangerous storms that can lead to destructive flooding, storm surge, high winds, and the devastation of entire communities. Severe hurricanes even have the potential to become life-threatening. While it may be impossible to stop a hurricane from making landfall, there are still several steps that can be taken to ensure the safety of oneself and one’s family.
The phrase “hurricane season” — the period of time between June and November — identifies the months when hurricanes and tropical systems are most likely to occur. Even outside of those high-risk months, it’s best to make plans to address possible dangers that hurricanes may present.
Here are 5 easy steps that can be taken now to mitigate the impact of future hurricanes:
1. Trim weak or broken branches and trees
In Louisiana alone, millions of dollars in property damage are caused by fallen trees every year. Moreover, a large percentage of hurricane claims are filed due to damage caused by snapped trees and branches. If there are broken, unstable, or otherwise hazardous trees present on your property, all it takes is one strong gust of wind for a disaster to ensue. Be a proactive property owner and take care of any problem trees before they harm neighbors, kids, homes, and your bank account.
2. Install storm shutters
If a home’s window shatters during a storm, dangerous rain, wind, and debris have the potential to swiftly damage the interior of the building. Storm shutters are the first line of defense between homes, businesses, and the outside elements. These coverings are engineered to be impact-resistant and hurricane-rated, protecting exterior windows from high wind speeds and flying debris.
3. Document your valuables
Now is a great time to begin the process of thoroughly documenting one’s home. Keep a spreadsheet or written list of all valuable items. Proper documentation of these valuables is crucial to filing a successful damages claim. This documentation should include:
- A description of each item
- Where the item was purchased or obtained
- When the item was purchased or obtained
- The estimated value of the item, or receipt from purchase of the item
- The item’s current condition
- Clear and recent photographs of the item
Once a home inventory has been created, make sure that it is stored in a place that can be accessed digitally and remotely.
4. Make an emergency evacuation plan
The panic and chaos that are synonymous with hurricanes can often lead to confusion, separation from family members, and uncertainty. Establishing a travel plan and a designated shelter location will alleviate some stress from the evacuation process. The needs of pets, school-aged children, older family members, or family members with special dietary or medical restrictions should also be taken into consideration. Meet with friends and family to collaboratively plan a course of action in case of a weather event that requires evacuation. This hurricane evacuation plan should include:
- A method for receiving emergency alerts and warnings (such as a portable NOAA radio)
- A safe meeting place or location to take shelter
- A pre-planned evacuation route
- A plan to communicate with friends and family (should you become separated)
5. Create a “go folder”
So not to waste time hunting for paperwork when an emergency evacuation is warranted, it’s best to have a sealed and waterproofed “go folder” prepared. This “go folder” should contain all of the following important and necessary documents:
- Birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates
- Personal identification documents
- Estate plan documents and bank records
- Medical records and related documents
- Insurance policies
- Contact information of friends and relatives
- Family photos and albums
Anderson Traylor Edwards is here to help
Making it through a hurricane is only the first challenge. Then, there are endless phone calls, assessors, insurance companies, piles of paperwork, and other constant obstacles that can make it overwhelmingly difficult for those impacted to get the financial compensation they desperately need.
When you've been through so much already, you don't need to fight your insurance company alone. Anderson Traylor Edwards is here for you, and we want to help you get what you deserve. For advice on hurricane preparedness and information about how we can help with your hurricane damage claim, contact us online or call 985-345-7777.