DIY Hacks to Prepare Your Home for Storm Season

by Jeff IllApril 12, 2016

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Storm season can be an extremely stressful time for homeowners—particularly when rare weather events like El Niño come into play. Between flooding, high winds and heavy rains, it’s natural to worry about how your home will fare should the worst happen.

Luckily, there are a few simple ways to prepare your home for storms. And as a bonus, some of these upgrades can help you save money on your home insurance premium. Here are some of the best DIY tips for weathering the storm:

Start Inside Your Home

There are plenty of ways you can fix things inside your home to help keep a bigger issue at bay down the road. By devoting the necessary time and resources to improving your home security and safeguarding your family and personal belongings, you could avoid potentially costly problems ranging from a security system failure to a lack of working smoke detectors.

  • Check your carbon-monoxide detectors. Ensure you have properly working carbon monoxide detectors on all floors of your home to help protect your family against the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in the event of an unexpected power outage.
  • Use whole house surge protection. With whole house surge protection, you can safeguard your devices from any surges that may occur inside your residence during a storm, preventing costly replacements later.
  • Check the sump pump. Too often, soggy and saturated ground leads to rising water in the basement. Being able to bail out in the case of heavy rains and flooding will ensure you aren’t dealing with damage to your holiday decorations, party supplies and whatever else is stored in the basement—not to mention the integrity of your home.

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Then Check the Exterior of the House

When it comes to severe weather, the best defense is an offense. According to the Insurance Information Institute, some insurers will offer credits for things like storm shutters and roof reinforcements. Although there is an initial up-front investment, you may receive a discount on your policy. Here are some simple ways to prepare your home for any weather.

  • Prep your roof. Minor roof cracks can become serious problems in a storm that features heavy rain, hail or winds. Homeowners who fill roof cracks or reinstall roof tiles before the storm may be able to prevent significant roof damage in the future. Hail-resistant roofs may also snag you a discount.
  • Add storm shutters. You’d be surprised how much an insurance premium can go up due to broken windows. Adding storm shutters to pull closed during windy weather could protect your home from broken windows or even leakage.

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  • Clear your gutters. Remove dry leaves and other debris from your gutters at least twice a year in order to prevent a flood of water from cascading down your house, potentially impacting your siding, landscaping and even your home’s foundation. Also, be sure to check for any breaks, making sure gutters are tight against your roofline.
  • Check for leaks. On the opposite end of the extreme weather spectrum, a warm summer along with continued dry spells can affect expansion joints on wood structures, which can cause them to leak. Double check old trouble spots and make sure the roof is free of any debris that could be hiding a problem.

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Don’t Forget the Yard

The bushes, trees and landscaping around your yard play just as much of a role during a storm as your house itself—so don’t forget to add these tasks to your to-do list:

  • Trim your trees. That old tree in the backyard may look innocent enough on a sunny day, but dead or weakened branches could fall during a storm and cause significant damage. Consider hiring an expert to inspect the trees close to your home and identify potential hazards, removing any branches that could break and fall.
  • Move or secure outdoor seating and furniture. During a severe storm, anything around your home can become a projectile. If you know you’re in the path of a storm system like El Niño, be sure to either tie down, move or secure any and all patio furniture including benches, chairs, tables and big umbrellas. An especially strong wind can pick up and throw these items into your home, causing costly damage ranging from broken windows to torn siding.

A proactive approach to disaster preparedness guarantees that you’ll be ready to deal with a variety of weather-related challenges that may come your way. Talk to your insurance company about how these and other tips may help lower your insurance premiums.


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About The Author
Jeff Ill
Jeffrey Ill serves as Vice President of Homeowners Products at Esurance. As a veteran of the insurance industry, Jeff has held various leadership roles and has supported a wide range of product implementations. His 30+ years of experience have helped him to draw insights for his writing.

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