Prepare Your Property for Summer Storms

Summer storms have been particularly devastating for the past few years, and this season the same pattern of frequent and intense thunderstorms, tornadoes and heavy rain is predicted to continue. Although you can’t avoid stormy weather, being prepared is the most effective way to prevent damage to your property. Before the storm season kicks into high gear, take the time to do a little maintenance around your home or office, verify that you’re insured against storm damage and assemble a few emergency preparedness supplies.
Outdoor Summer Storm Preparation

Severe storm damage takes its toll on trees, in both summer and winter. During winter storms, ice-covered branches can take out power lines. During the summer, entire trees can come down, landing on cars, roofs and utility poles. Trees may be stressed from last winter, so now is the time to have preventive pruning done. Pruning removes dead branches and thins the tree’s canopy to reduce wind resistance. Cleaning out gutters will ensure that heavy rains are diverted away from your home’s foundation instead of toward it, as can happen when gutters overflow. Inspect the roof, looking for loose or broken shingles, and contact a roofer to make any necessary repairs.

Verify Your Insurance Coverage

Most people don’t think much about their insurance coverage until they need it. Contact your property insurance carrier to discuss your level of coverage. Verify that your policy provides for replacement value of your property, rather than actual cash value. Talk with your agent about what specifically is covered, what your deductible is and how the claims process works. Ask whether your policy covers burst pipes and, if necessary, a total rebuild of your home, as these are common exclusions that property owners may not be aware of. Finally, remember that most standard insurance polices do not cover flood damage. If you want flood coverage, you must purchase the policy directly from FEMA.

Assemble Your Emergency Information Resources

If you know devastating weather is on its way, you have a better chance of being prepared. The National Weather Service has implemented emergency alerts that allow you to be notified by cell phone if extreme weather is headed your way, so your family can seek shelter. Your local electric utility may also have system alerts that can keep you updated about outages and downed power lines. Put together a summer emergency kit that includes flashlights (with fresh batteries, of course), bottled water, convenience food, a transistor radio and an emergency phone. The recent trend in summer storms has seen more frequent and long-lasting power outages. Consider finally investing in a generator this year.

Prepare for the Worst

Despite your best efforts at preparation, summer storms can still cause significant damage. As a part of your summer storm preparation, identify a local emergency services and restoration company in your area, and add their contact information to your emergency kit. If damage does occur at your property, the last thing you need or want is to be scrambling in the dark to find a phone number. A full-service restoration contractor can provide water extraction, mold remediation and board-up services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Preparation won’t prevent disaster, but this year, ensure the best possible outcome for you and your family by preparing now for the upcoming summer storms.