It’s hard to imagine anything could be as damaging to your home as winter storms, but the truth is spring and summer — with their inclement weather and sudden, severe storms — can be even more dangerous than winter. Once a storm hits, there isn’t much you can do but weather it. Therefore, it’s important to prepare yourself and your home in advance. But those aren’t the only things you need to protect. Homeowners and drivers can take steps to prepare their property against weather damage in the months ahead.
Prepare your home for severe, unpredictable weather
Home is where the heart is, but it’s also where you keep your most prized possessions. In addition to insuring your home, if you’ve saved for years for a vacation home, you’ve got to protect that investment as well. Here are the most important steps you can take to protect your properties:
- Document everything.
Document the state of your home before weather turns extreme. Start by taking an inventory of all your belongings, then create video or photographic documentation of your property, including the interior and exterior of your home. This will help serve as evidence if you need to file an insurance claim later.
- Review your homeowner’s insurance policy coverage and deductibles.
Even if you think you know exactly what your policy covers, review it again. It’s important to ensure your policy and deductibles are still appropriate for your area and needs.[br][br]For instance, floods aren’t covered in most homeowner’s insurance policies. Does your policy include a provision for “loss of use” coverage in the event you need temporary housing after a storm or fire? What is the maximum you can expect to pay out of pocket? Considering these factors and more in advance can help you set appropriate deductibles while ensuring proper coverage.
- Maintain an emergency supply kit in the safest part of your home.
Every member of your family should know where to head during a storm. This could be the basement or an outdoor shelter. Ensure your safe room is stocked with enough emergency supplies to last at least five days. Your emergency kit should include non-perishable food and water as well as first-aid supplies, blankets, medications, extra clothes, battery- or generator-powered lights, and hand tools.
Protect your vehicle during summer
Summer months can be the worst for driving, and the reasons are manifold: Summer means busier roads as well as teenagers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and vacationers coming out in droves. The drier weather also allows road construction and maintenance crews to make much-needed repairs after winter storms. Here are a few ways to protect your car — and yourself — during the hazardous summer months ahead:
- Regularly check your tire pressure and tread.
High heat causes the air inside your tires to expand, which increases the chance of a blowout. Tires that are wearing thin are particularly prone to blowouts. To prevent this from happening, ensure your tire pressure meets your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Drive cautiously.
This is probably the easiest and yet most overlooked means of preventing road accidents. Being aware and cautious is a driver’s best protection. Keep an eye out for motorcyclists and bicyclists who may try to weave in and out of summer traffic. If you notice a driver swerving or not paying attention, stay back and notify authorities when appropriate. Also, stay alert and watch for children playing in and near streets this time of year.
- Review your auto insurance policy.
As with your homeowner’s policy, check that your auto insurance policy is up to date and adequate to meet your needs. Confirm the coverage limits and that your car is protected from inclement weather damage. The comprehensive section of your insurance policy should include your coverage for things such as wind and hailstorms.
- Know your roadside assistance contact.
Accidents are scary, and it can be difficult to remember who to call in the moment. Make sure you know who to call if you’re in an accident or stranded due to adverse weather. Keep this number in a safe place in your car so you can always find it, and save it in your phone in case you need to abandon your vehicle.
Whether you’re at home or on the road, preparing in advance and getting the insurance coverage you need is essential to mitigate damage and recover quickly from unanticipated accidents. Other policies to review this time of year include your personal, health, and life insurance. Check to see if they cover you when traveling — even outside the country — and add additional coverage where needed. In addition, bundling your policies can help save you money in the long run. From reviewing your insurance policies to securing your home and property, the trick to surviving summer and the severe weather it can bring is being prepared.