Hurricane Season is Here: Are You Ready? 

If there’s one thing Floridians have learned over the years it’s that we can’t get complacent with storm preparation. The threat of severe storms is always knocking on our doors, and that knock comes loudest during hurricane season.  

For those of us who have lived here most or all of our lives, we know hurricanes are a threat we must take seriously, yet it still can be easy to let preventative and home maintenance measures slide. For those who are recent transplants, consider this your call to action. From June through November, we must brace ourselves for the potential of high winds, heavy rains, and severe flooding. 

To prepare for this year’s hurricane season, here are five important steps to take now so you’re ready to ride out this year’s storm season as safely as possible: 

  1. Update your home inventory – Now is the time to ensure that you have updated photos and video footage of your property – both inside and out. By creating an inventory of your home, you’ll have documentation and proof of your personal possessions in the event that you need to file an insurance claim or apply for disaster aid after a damaging event. Within your inventory, you should also include roof pictures, any inspection reports, and other documentation related to your property and its condition. If you don‘t have or are unable to photograph your roof’s condition, consider calling a local public adjuster to ask if they can take some drone photographs so you have updated records before storm season.
  1. Review insurance policies – Understand your existing property insurance coverage and compile your documents securely with your photos and home inventory. Be sure to store your important documents safely with a cloud storage service like Dropbox or Google Drive and keep all hard copies in a water-tight folder or bag to ensure they stay dry and well-protected. 
  1. Prep a hurricane “go bag” – Part of preparing for storm season means ensuring that your go-bag is also ready. Stock essential storm survival items including those on this list. Put them in a bag that you can quickly grab if you need to leave your home in a hurry. 
  1. Stock up on supplies – You should never be without extra non-perishables and emergency supplies, including batteries, flashlights, matches and candles, water, food, first-aid supplies, basic tools and materials, and fuel, among others. Get it now before store supplies run low because everyone else is rushing out at the last minute. Even better, take advantage of the Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday in Florida, which runs from June 1-14, 2024 and August 24-September 6, 2024. Tax-free supplies include flashlights, radios, tarps, batteries, and generators. 
  1. Don’t forget about your pets – If you have pets, ensure vaccinations are up to date (and you have records safely stored). It’s also a good idea to generate a list of hotel chains that cater to pets and pet owners. In the event that a storm makes your home uninhabitable or displaces you, you may need to temporarily relocate to a hotel and could incur additional living expenses (note that these should expenses be covered under your insurance policy). 
  1. Prepare your property – Now is also the time to take care of routine home maintenance measures to safeguard your home from unnecessary damage. Check the roof and repair any damage. Tidy up your landscaping (if you have coconut palms, trim them now before a storm – it’s impossible to get anyone to come trim them when there’s a potential landfall). Clear your gutters and ensure a clear drainage path out and away from your home.  

Being smart with storm preparation is one of the best things you can do to ensure your family and property are safe in the wake of a storm. Check these six things off your list now, and after the storm, call us first at Kandell, Kandell & Petrie for help with the insurance claims process. Our experienced legal team has been helping homeowners with their hurricane insurance claims dating back to the 2004-2005 season. Over the years, we’ve worked hurricanes Charley, Ivan, Frances, Jeanne, Dennis, Wilma, Irma, Michael, Matthew, Sally, Ian, and Idalia. If you have questions about a property insurance claim in Florida, turn to one of our claims advisors in Miami for answers.