The 2021 hurricane season is upon us. We were lucky last year, and Florida didn’t have to cope with a direct hit from a hurricane. But that’s not our norm, and we shouldn’t get lazy about preparing. According to the Tampa Bay Times, since 1851, Florida has been hit by 121 hurricanes and 37 major hurricanes—by far the most of any state. To help you stay prepared for a storm hitting our area, here are some dos and don’ts for the 2021 hurricane season.
DO be sure you have the right insurance coverage
If your home is severely damaged or destroyed by a hurricane, your homeowners insurance could be all that stands between you and financial devastation. Now is the time to review your homeowners policy to make sure it covers the current true value of your home. You should also familiarize yourself with your coverage terms, including your hurricane deductible, and consider purchasing flood insurance if you don’t already have it. Most standard homeowners insurance policies do not cover water or flood damage, including water damage caused by a hurricane or tropical storm. You may want to review your coverage with your insurance agent if you have questions or need advice.
DO gather important documents
If you need to evacuate, you’ll want to be able to quickly locate documents, photos or videos of your belongings, and even certain irreplaceable mementos. Make a checklist of the items you need, and keep them in a waterproof container that you can grab as you leave.
DO prepare your home and yard
Make necessary home repairs, especially any to doors, windows or your roof. Look for branches that hang over your house or screened enclosure as well as dead or dying trees. Most tree work should be done by a professional for safety’s sake. Also check your yard for anything that could become a flying missile during a storm and get rid of it if you can. Have a plan for what to do with things you want to keep, like flower pots and patio furniture.
DON’T wait until a storm is on its way to prepare
In addition to getting your home and yard ship shape, you should also review lists of what hurricane supplies you should have on hand (see Resources below for some helpful links). Check what you already have and start updating or adding to your hurricane supplies as quickly as you can. Include food, water, medications, and pet supplies in your stash. Check use by dates for food and batteries—and don’t forget the toilet paper!
If you’re in an evacuation zone, have a plan for where you will go and how you’ll get there. Prepare a “go bag” for your family, and keep your vehicles gassed up and properly maintained.
DON’T be complacent
Just because Florida didn’t have a direct hit last year doesn’t mean it won’t this year. Take an hour or two to plan now and save yourself the fear and hassle of being unprepared if a storm heads our way.
DO remember Lakewood Financial is here for you as you prepare for the 2021 hurricane season
If you need a quote for homeowners insurance, flood insurance, or if you have questions about your existing policies, please give us a call at 941-747-4600. (Click here to request a homeowners insurance quote or here to request a flood insurance quote online.) We are a local, independent insurance agency serving Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and surrounding communities.
Tower Hill Insurance Advice and Tips
Insurer Southern Oak has several free resources to help homeowners prepare:
Disaster Preparedness e-book
Home inventory checklist
Family emergency plan