September was National Preparedness Month, and in light of recent events, we want to help you prepare to protect your home in case of another hurricane or other natural disaster. If you live in a place that is known to have natural disasters, or you know ahead of time that one is about to occur, we have ways to avoid potential damage to your home. Remember: “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.”
Floods. Homeowners insurance does not cover floods, so you will need to purchase flood insurance if you live in a high-risk zone. Suggested home improvements:
- Think about appliances such as the water heater, furnace, and electric panels. Bring them up out of the basement if you have one.
- Install check-in valves. Having these in your drains will prevent floodwater from backing up.
- Create barriers. Waterproof your basement walls to stop floodwater from entering the structure.
Hurricanes and tropical storms. Insurers on the coast offer homeowners insurance policies with percentage deductibles for hurricane damage. Even farther inland in Wake County, we can be affected by hurricanes. Many residents remember Hurricane Fran in 1996, which came right up Interstate 40 and hit Raleigh.
Suggested home improvements:
- Hurricane shutters. Install protective covers to prevent glass windows or doors from shattering due to high winds.
- Reinforce garage doors to prevent high winds from entering your garage and causing expensive structural damage.
- Install hurricane straps. Hire a contractor to add these metal ties at your roof-to-wall, floor-to-floor, and wall-to-foundation to keep the frame of your home secure.
Tornadoes. While we most often think about hurricanes in this part of the country, we are at risk for tornadoes, too. Most reported tornado occurrences are in southeastern and southcentral North Carolina, including Wake County. In 2014, tornadoes caused more than $22 million in damages in North Carolina, according to the NC State Extension Office.
Most homeowners insurance covers tornado and high wind damage, but examine your policy to make sure you’re covered. Suggested home improvements:
- Brace gables (the sidewall of a roof). Create an X shape with wood planks in your attic to prevent the gable from collapsing from high winds.
- Add a safe room. Build a room that doubles as a bathroom or a utility closet for emergency use. Such rooms can provide significant protection for a larger group of people.
- Reinforce sheathing (plywood/wafer board underneath the shingles/roofing materials). Also be sure to repair or replace improperly placed nails.