Now, in 2020, we are just days away from another potential destructive hurricane landfall in Florida. Hurricane Isaias is presently forecasted to hit Florida this weekend. Even if Hurricane Isaias does not make landfall, its bands can still lead to severe weather that can cause extreme property damage to Floridians' homes and businesses.
As the hurricane approaches, there are numerous steps that homeowners and property owners should take, in order to protect themselves in case of property damage from the storm.
1) Plan your evacuation route as soon as possible
It may advisable to evacuate, depending on where you live. Check with local authorities to determine if evacuation is recommended.
If appropriate, plan an evacuation route, determine if it is appropriate to go to nearby shelters, and be sure to account for a safe place for pets.
Do not wait until the last minute, when roads may be congested, and necessary materials like gasoline and bottled water may be in short supply.
2) Have ample supplies, non-perishable food, and water
3) Take loose furniture and items inside
If you have patio furniture or other items outside on your property, take them inside to prevent them from becoming projectiles in the event of heavy gusts of wind.
Trim any weak branches or trees that could pose a danger if they were to fall over. And be sure to trim shrubbery on your property as well.
4) Photograph and inventory your personal belongings and property
Before the storm arrives, take photographs of your home or business and its contents. This way, if your property sustains damage from the storm, you will be better able to prove what was lost or damaged when making an insurance claim.
Take photos of the ceiling and roof (if it's safe to do so) to show that there are no leaks before the storm.
If you have hurricane or storm shutters, take photos of your property both before and after you put the shutters up. This way, you will be able to better prove the condition of your property before the storm, and also prove that you took precautionary steps to prevent damage by utilizing shutters. And, if you have hurricane impact windows, doors, or an impact rated garage, they will be visible in the photographs as well.
Also, take photographs of your landscaping to show that trees and shrubs are trimmed, and that there are no loose items on your property that could become dangerous projectiles. This will help prove that you didn't contribute to any property damage should any occur.
5) Take videos of your property
Just like you did with the photographs, take videos of your property to show its condition before the storm hits.
Take video footage of the ceiling and roof (if it's safe to do so) to show that there are no leaks.
Take video footage of your property both before and after you put up hurricane or storm shutters.
Take video footage of the grounds, with all loose furniture and other items removed.
6) Email the photographs and videos to yourself
Don't just keep the photographs and videos you took on your cell phone, camera, or camcorder. Instead, email them to yourself so you have the digital files stored on a secure server. That way, if you lose electricity or cell phone service, or if your electronics break during the storm, you will still have access to the evidence you've collected showing the state of your property prior to any possible hurricane or storm damage.
7) Keep all your receipts for expenses incurred in hurricane preparations, and keep copies in your email account
It is a good idea to scan in all of your receipts for hurricane preparations, and to email them to yourself, so you can easily access them later. You never know when you might need to make a claim for some of these expenses, or prove you took precautionary measures in advance of the storm.
8) Take stock of important documents
Make sure you have copies of your insurance policies with you: homeowner's insurance, property insurance, renters' insurance, flood insurance, and any other policies you have. This way, if you lose computer, internet, electricity, or phone access for an extended period of time, you will have the information you need to initiate a claim after the storm.
Also, make sure you have all your other important documents with you, or that you know they are in a safe and secure location outside of the storm's destructive path. This includes Social Security cards, passports, birth certificates, wills, trust documents, stock certificates, settlement agreements, marriage certificates, or any other important documents you may need to access after the storm passes through.
We at The Burton Firm hope you and your loved ones make it safely through the storm, and with no damage to your home, business, or property. If you do experience any problems, however, we may be able to help. If you experience hurricane or storm damage, call (305) 705-0888 for a free consultation.