Steps to Protect Your Home from Wind Damage

As hurricane season gets underway, the threat of wind damaging your home significantly increases if you live near a large body of water. Further, those who live near the Gulf of Mexico or along the Atlantic Coast who are susceptible to the oil-saturated waters from BP’s oil spill have even more to worry about.

The good news is, in addition to the financial protection that you receive from maintaining an adequate home insurance policy – as well as flood insurance – there are a few more steps that you can take to make sure your home is protected from the wind and oil damage. The following is what you could do to decrease your chances of suffering severe damage to your home during hurricane season.

Protecting Your Home from Wind Damage and Flood Waters

There’s no doubt that protecting your home completely from a hurricane is simply not possible. A standard home just can’t withstand the huffing and puffing of one hundred-plus mile per hour winds. However, there are some things you can do to minimize the damage:

  • Install anchor bolts: In order to more securely connect the floor construction to your home’s foundation, you could install anchor bolts with heavy-gauge, square bolt washers.
  • Secure your roof: Be sure to properly size and nail your sheathing so that it complies with your building codes. Also, you could install an underlayment material to protect against water infiltration.
  • Protect your windows: Fit your windows and glass doors with impact-resistant laminated glass or try impact-resistant shutters to reduce damage from flying debris.
  • Replace and secure doors: You could consider replacing your current doors with solid wood or hollow metal since they’re good at resisting wind pressure and flying debris. Also, consider fitting doors with at least three hinges, as well as a deadbolt security lock with a bolt throw of at least one inch.
  • Brace garage doors: Since garage doors are more vulnerable than many other parts of homes, it’s good to brace them with a retrofit bracing kit or replace your current door with a horizontally-braced, singlewide garage door.
  • Secure fuel tanks: Anchor your fuel tanks to the floor (check with your fuel company for guidelines) and make sure your vents and fill line openings are above projected flood levels to avoid in-home spills.

By taking these precautions, you could easily reduce the possibility of your home being damaged by hurricane winds.

What if My Home is Hit with Oil-Saturated Waters?

As you already know, the BP oil spill has affected waters in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. By the middle of June 2010, millions of gallons of oil had spilled into the waters and worked their way along the Gulf and up the east coast.

With hurricane season already underway, the threat of the oily water affecting homes increases by the day. Water saturated with fuel oil can be extremely difficult and costly to clean up, which is why it’s not only good to protect the home, but make sure you’ve purchased the right insurance to take care of the financial burden.

How Does My Insurance Factor In?

Even after protecting your home to your best ability, it’s still possible that it could be damaged by hurricane wind and water. This is why arming yourself with both home insurance and flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is important. It offers you financial coverage that’s difficult to otherwise come up with out of pocket.

If you have home insurance, your structure will be protected from standard wind damage, but will not be covered if your home floods as a result. This is why it’s important to also carry flood insurance. In the case of the oil-saturated waters, it’s even more crucial because FEMA guarantees your insurance will cover any damage as a result of the oil spill.

If you don’t already have flood insurance, now’s the time to get it since most policies have a 30-day wait period before the it takes effect. Not to mention that the NFIP itself has recently only lasted for one or two months at a time before expiring.

Doing everything you can to protect your home is important year-round, but especially during hurricane season. Take the steps necessary to secure your home and your financial well-being.