Preparing for Irma – Important Hurricane Information For Home Owners
Currently Hurricane Irma is on target to be among the seven most powerful storms on record to ever cross the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, it is no wonder that the state of Florida has already declared a state of emergency. While no formal evacuation orders have been issued, it would seem that they are coming soon…
First and foremost, safety first! If you have been asked to evacuate, please do! Do not attempt to ride out the storm. Property can be replaced but you cannot be.
Next, there are things you can do now to protect your property.
What to do now:
- Install Storm Shutters right away and be sure to deadbolt and lock your front door.
- Secure all outdoor objects such as garbage cans and lawn furniture and bigger items such as boats. Bring in plants, grills and any lightweight items you can indoors.
- Protect Important Documents in a fireproof safe or plastic container. If you are planning to evacuate, put them in a Ziploc bag to bring along with you. Be sure to include your insurance policy number, it will help the claim process proceed smoothly.
- Move electronic equipment away from windows and doors and cover them with plastic.
- Prepare for flooding by moving items of value to a higher elevation.
- If you have area rugs, roll them up and move them to an elevated area if possible.
- Place towels at the base of any French Doors or Terrace Doors.
- Do a quick inventory with a video camera to help with the claim process after the storm.
- Clear gutters by removing any debris that can block the flow of water.
- Shut off utilities and if you are planning to evacuate, electricity.
- Plan an evacuation route once you’ve made the decision to evacuate.
- Gas up, make sure you have fuel for back-up generators and all vehicles.
- Pack up, we’ve got a great list of items you should try to bring with you should you make the decision to evacuate. You can find it here.
Finally, after the storm is over, there are some important things to keep in mind.
When the storm is over
- Do not enter your home if you see significant structural damage.
- If you have suffered a loss, report it as soon as possible.
Click here to report a claim directly to your insurance carrier.
- Have your policy number available, if possible.
- Run your air conditioner to dehumidify your home.
- If you can safely do so, take photographs of the damage or provide a verbal description.
- Make a note of the claim adjuster’s name, telephone number and inspection schedule.
- Prepare a list of damaged or lost items for your adjuster.
- Keep damaged items or portions of them aside until the claims adjuster has visited your home.
- Keep your receipts if you are unable to return home for a time to help with the claims process.