June marks the start of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, and from all indications, it is likely to be an active several months. According to the Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University, there are likely to be 16 named storms, half of which are projected to be hurricanes. In fact, only 3 days into the official season and the Atlantic region is already seeing its third major storm system (TS Cristobal). With this many storms likely in our area, it is more important than ever to be prepared. Follow these tips to make sure that you and your family share a safe (and dry) 2020:
• Make sure that you have enough supplies on hand to sustain your household for at least several days. In the event of a major storm, it will likely take government and private industry some time to re-start the supply chain. Make sure you have enough food, water, medication, and fuel to last.
• Take an annual inventory of your home contents on your smartphone using either photographs or a walk-through video. In the event you need to establish your claim to an insurance company later, this time-stamped evidence will be invaluable.
• Do a walk-through of the exterior property to make sure you are ready to storm-harden your house. If you have hurricane shutters, make sure that you know where all the parts are (those bolts and wingnuts can get lost easily during the winter months), check your rain gutters to make sure they’re clear and start trimming any large trees. You will not want to be doing these things…or trying to buy the hardware once a storm is approaching.
• Have an evacuation plan for yourself and any family in the area. This is more important in 2020 than ever because with the pandemic, it will not be easy to find local shelter space. In fact, many local emergency operations centers are likely to issue shelter-in-place orders for those in newer neighborhoods with more sturdy construction. This means, if you are going to leave once a storm is approaching you will need to do so quickly.
• If you don’t have a garage (or enough clutter-free room in your garage to fit your car) start scouting out locations to keep it during the storm. Think of nearby parking facilities that will provide cover…not only is this likely to save you on an insurance deductible, but in the aftermath of a storm you don’t want to be stranded because your car was destroyed by debris.
• Consider purchasing comprehensive coverage with your car insurance. This coverage will reimburse you if your vehicle or its contents are damaged or destroyed by the storm. Without it, you may find yourself without an ability to repair or replace a storm-damaged car.
• Also, strongly consider flood insurance. Many people assume that the extremely expensive insurance they buy under a homeowners policy will cover all of the damage from a hurricane. . . this is not always the case. In the event damage is caused by rising water rather than wind your homeowner’s insurance will likely not apply. DO NOT GET CAUGHT IN THIS TRAP as it will likely create a life-changing event that can be avoided for a relatively small amount.
With these basic measures, you and your family will be prepared for an active 2020 hurricane season. Most importantly, be on the lookout for credible information so that you can make good decisions well in advance of any approaching storm. If you find yourself in need of legal assistance arising from a storm-related claim, you are welcome to contact Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith, PLLC for a free consultation about your rights.
This blog is written by attorney Joshua Ferraro.