As of June 1, hurricane season is officially underway, and according to predictions, the odds of a quiet season are low.
“The bottom line is, we’re experiencing a lot of activity this season. Whether that’s near normal or above normal, that’s a lot of hurricanes,” said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration’s Climate Prediction Center (NOAA).
Despite forecasts, it’s hard to determine when, where and exactly how these storms will hit. That’s why knowing what actions to take before, during and after a storm is critical to your safety and survival. Regardless of where you’re positioned on the map, hurricane season can affect you. Just about five years ago, Hurricane Sandy swept through Northeast Ohio, causing millions of dollars worth of damage.
In an effort to educate readers on the importance of hurricane preparedness, the Ohio Insurance Institute (OII) and its members assembled a collection of resources and tips. Below, we share those resources to promote safety this hurricane season.
Allstate: Prepare Now to Protect Your Property from Damage
According to CNN, the total damage from Hurricane Katrina was estimated at $108 billion. Knowing what steps to take to prepare your home, property and investments when a hurricane or tropical storms hits is critical.
Don’t postpone preparations— plan now.
- Check your insurance policies to make sure you’re fully covered.
- Compile a detailed list of all of your belongings.
- Protect your property by installing hurricane shutters, or 5/8-inch thick outdoor plywood boards for each window of your home.
- Stock up on food, water and other vital supplies.
To help get your home and family ready this hurricane season, Allstate also offers a Printable Hurricane Prep Guide.
Central Insurance Companies: Take Storm Proofing Into Your Own Hands
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a one to five rating based on a hurricane’s sustained wind speed. With sustained winds ranging from 74 to 157 miles per hour, hurricanes reaching Category 3 and higher are considered major hurricanes.
Of the hurricanes expected to touch down this season, three of the eight are forecasted to be Category 3 or stronger, according to the Colorado State University forecast. With this in mind, Central Insurance Companies (@Central_Ins) outlined a number of steps to take to ensure you have the proper insurance coverage in place. Central Insurance Companies suggests asking your insurance company the following questions:
- Does my claim exceed my deductible? Make sure you know the amount of your deductible.
- Will I need to obtain estimates for repairs or replacements? Some companies may require an estimate to be approved before a reimbursement takes place.
- How much insurance is enough? Check if your policy pays replacement cost or actual cash value for a covered loss. If you have increased the value of your property, be sure to increase the protection for your property.
- Does my policy provide reimbursement for additional living expenses when a property is determined to be uninhabitable due to damage? If you must evacuate the area, notify your insurance company and verify your insurance policy for coverage for temporary lodging. This provision helps pay for living expenses, restaurant food, overnight parking and laundry services.
To help you stay safe and return to regular daily life after a catastrophic event, Central Insurance Companies also highlights storm-proofing tips.
Cincinnati Insurance Companies: Plan, Prepare, Update, Repeat
Hurricane preparedness requires constant updates and evolving actions. Those who reside farther inland, like us in Ohio, may ask, “Why would I ever need to prepare for or even be concerned about a hurricane?”
In 2008, Hurricane Ike caused wind and flood damage in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania. To recognize and prepare for disasters, Cincinnati Insurance Companies (@Cincinnatins) suggests that property owners ask themselves the following questions:
- Do you need to store plywood that has been cut to protect your windows and glass doors?
- What is the safest part of your home or office should high winds blow through or a tornado touch down?
- Do you have large trees next to your building that could be pruned or cut back to make them more stable against high winds?
- Do you have a generator? If not, investing in one and having extra fuel on hand can save your basement from sump failure and flooding, or your freezers from thawing and food spoilage.
For more information about severe weather safety in the Midwest, check out Cincinnati Insurance Company’s Tornado Preparedness Blog.
Farmers Insurance: How to Be Proactive During Hurricane Season
With peak hurricane season lasting from mid-August to late October, it’s critical to be proactive in preparation. To start, Farmers Insurance (@WeAreFarmers) recommends that you take time to prepare an emergency kit and make a communication plan.
Identify your area’s evacuation routes to determine where your family will meet, and how everyone would get there should you need to evacuate. And if a hurricane is approaching in your area, Farmers Insurance recommends the following:
- Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.
- Avoid using the phone, except for absolute emergencies.
- Turn off utilities if instructed. If not instructed to do so, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep the doors closed to avoid spoilage.
- Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water to help with washing or filling toilets in case water is unsafe to use or unavailable in your home.
- Stay indoors, away from any windows and glass doors. Close all interior doors and lock all external doors. During the height of the storm, seek shelter in an interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level of your home.
To help you make the right decisions this hurricane season, Farmers provides additional Hurricane Preparation Tips.
Nationwide: How to Prepare for High Winds
According to National Geographic, hurricanes can pack speeds more than 160 miles an hour and unleash more than 2.4 trillion gallons of rain each day. Because of this, it’s never too early to protect your family, home, property and business.
- Designate an emergency meeting spot and have a plan for your pets.
- Show adult and teen family members where electrical, gas and water shut-offs are, and how to turn them off. Make sure the proper tools are nearby.
- Have a well-stocked first aid kit, flashlights and plenty of batteries.
- Learn the elevation level of your property (above or below sea level) and whether the land is prone to floods. This gives you a better idea of how your property might be affected by a storm surge or tidal flooding.
For other ways to prepare your property for high winds, Nationwide offers a Hurricane Preparation Infographic.
See these resources for more ways our members and partners educate others on the importance of hurricane preparedness:
- American Family Insurance (@amfam): Helping Customers Hit By Tornadoes and Severe Storms in Kansas City Area
- Erie Insurance (@erie_insurance): How to Prepare for Hurricane Season
- GEICO (@GEICO): The Ultimate Hurricane Preparation Checklist
- Ohio Insurance Institute (@OIIOrg): OII Members Share Thoughts On Hurricane Katrina
- National Hurricane Center (@NWSNHC): Hurricane Preparedness – Be Ready
- gov (@fema): Hurricane Basics, 2017 Hurricane Seasonal Preparedness Digital Toolkit