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May 10, 2024
McLaurin Law

Protect Your Home from High Winds: 7 Essential Tips

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High winds can pose a significant threat to homes, causing damage that can be costly and dangerous. Here are essential tips to help you safeguard your property. By taking these steps, homeowners can significantly reduce the risk of wind damage to their property:

Regular Maintenance

Your home demands year-round attention to withstand nature's more violent moments. Periodic checks on the roof, for example, could reveal minor damages that, if ignored, could result in vulnerability during high winds.

Secure loose shingles and replace any that are damaged or missing:

  1. Inspect shingles for cracks, dents, and missing granules.
  2. Check for signs of moisture or mold under missing or damaged shingles as this can indicate a leak.
  3. Ensure that all shingles are firmly attached and that none are lifting at the edges.

Consider the trees surrounding your space; trimmed branches minimize the chance that they'll turn into projectiles, while the removal of diseased or dead trees eliminates a potential threat to your home's structural integrity.

Secure Outdoor Items

Take a moment to assess the potential missiles strewn across your backyard: a gusty day is not the time to realize your patio decor is a liability. Be diligent; secure anything that could be swept away by the wind, from lightweight furniture to children’s toys.

  1. Anchor down grills or outdoor cooking equipment using safety straps or weighted covers.
  2. Bolt or chain larger items like swing sets or storage sheds to the ground.
  3. For items that can't be secured, store them indoors or in a shed to prevent them from becoming airborne threats.

Not only do you need to secure existing outdoor belongings, but also consider the design and materials of future purchases. Opt for robust, wind-resistant products that promise both functionality and peace of mind when the skies turn turbulent.

Reinforce Vulnerable Areas

Strengthening your home’s weak spots is integral to reducing the risk of severe wind damage. Your windows and doors act as the gatekeepers against forceful gusts; their fortitude is of paramount importance.

Ensure their robustness with the following measures:

  1. Invest in high-impact glass for windows to prevent shattering upon violent contact with debris.
  2. Install sturdy, braced garage doors designed to resist buckling under pressure from high winds.
  3. Apply storm shutters to shield glass surfaces and put up a strong barrier against relentless winds.

Look beyond the immediate fittings and ponder the overall structural soundness of your home. Connect with a professional to inspect the foundation, walls, and any attachments to your house like carports or porches, ensuring they’re anchored soundly to resist wind's mighty force.

Create an Emergency Plan

Your safety protocol should encapsulate a straightforward, practiced escape path that every household member understands. Rehearse this plan, ensuring swift evacuation when every second counts; designate a meeting point that's safe from the tumultuous winds.

Embed crucial contact information for local emergency services, family members, and close allies in your memory, as well as in a secure, accessible spot within your home. Should storms sever communication lines or power, these numbers become your lifeline to aid and reunion with loved ones.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

An emergency kit stands as your beacon of hope amid the chaos that high winds can brew. Stash away enough water, non-perishable food supplies, and medications to last each family member at least three days, ensuring sustenance in times when access to necessities might be compromised.

Your kit should be a treasure trove of resources, including a flashlight with extra batteries, a first aid kit, and a portable radio to stay informed even if the power grid fails. Don't forget personal documents and cash, as these are essential in situations where digital connectivity might be disrupted.

Stay Informed

Maintain a keen awareness of weather patterns by tuning into local news broadcasts and subscribing to real-time alerts from meteorological services. Your proactive stance in tracking storm systems grants you precious time to activate your safety measures and secure your home.

Leverage technology by downloading weather apps on your mobile devices, which can send push notifications for sudden wind advisories in your area. Staying informed allows you to adjust your plans swiftly, reinforcing your preparedness for whatever nature may unleash.

Post-Storm Actions

Once the winds quiet and peace returns, inspect your property with a thorough, methodical approach. Assess the condition of roofing, siding, and foundational elements for signs of stress or damage, taking note of any urgent repairs to prevent future vulnerabilities.

Contact your insurance provider promptly if you discover impacts necessitating claims; ensure the accurate documentation of all damage with photos and detailed notes. This record is invaluable, demonstrating the extent of the wind's impact and facilitating a smoother claims process.

Additional Tips From a Homeowners Insurance Law Firm

In addition to the essential tips provided for protecting your home against high winds, as a homeowners insurance law firm, McLaurin Law offers the following advice to ensure you're fully prepared and protected:

Review Your Insurance Coverage

Initiate a detailed review of your insurance policy annually to guarantee that your level of coverage aligns with current needs and potential wind hazards. Scrutinize the fine print, keeping an eye out for exclusions, deductibles, and limits that impact how well you're safeguarded against windstorms.

Engage in discussions with your insurance agent to clarify uncertainties and update your policy in line with any home improvements or changes in regional weather patterns. Securing comprehensive coverage shrewdly positions you to navigate post-storm recovery with greater ease and financial security.

Document Your Property

Meticulous documentation of your home and possessions sets a critical precedent for post-disaster recovery. Capture images or video of each room, highlighting valuable items, and store these records in multiple formats, both digital and physical, ensuring accessibility even if one method is compromised.

In your efforts to safeguard your investments, overlook not the importance of regularly updating your property inventory. As you acquire new assets or make significant changes to your home, reflect these adjustments in your records to maintain an up-to-date account, essential for an accurate insurance claim should the need arise.

Understand the Claims Process

Grasping the claims process allows you to recover from storm-induced damage with financial support from your insurer. Time is of essence; it's paramount to notify your insurance provider as soon as possible to kick-start the claims procedure.

  1. Reach out to your insurance company right away to report the damage.
  2. Fill out claim forms with precision, supplying full details about the extent of the damage.
  3. Gather photo or video evidence of the damage to substantiate your claim.
  4. Keep a log of all communications with your insurance provider for reference.
  5. Understand your policy's deductible and how it affects your claim's payout.
  6. Be prepared for a visit from the insurance adjuster to assess the damage.
  7. Review the settlement offer carefully and negotiate if it does not meet your expectations.

After initiating the claim, remain active in the appraisal of your damages and the ensuing discussions with the adjuster to ensure a fair assessment. Evaluate the insurance company's settlement offer meticulously; it’s within your right to contest any valuation that you believe undervalues the loss you've incurred.

Legal Assistance

Navigating the aftermath of a storm involves complex decisions, especially where large claims or contested settlements are concerned. Securing legal counsel equips you with expertise tailored to dissect your policy's nuances, ensuring a balanced interaction with your insurance company.

In situations where disputes arise or claims are denied, the guidance of a legal professional may prove invaluable: their experience can make a notable difference in the outcomes of your insurance battles. Your rights and entitlements need a strong advocate in your corner, ready to stand ground on your behalf:

  1. Consult an attorney if you face resistance from your insurer on a legitimate claim.
  2. Consider legal advice when navigating the complexities of insurance law and property damage assessment.
  3. Arm yourself with legal protection if your insurer underestimates or unfairly dismisses your claim.

Conclusion

Incorporating these steps into your windstorm preparation plan not only helps protect your physical property but also ensures you're prepared for the financial and legal aspects of recovering from wind damage.

Copyright © 2023. McLaurin Law, PLLC. All Rights Reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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