It’s no secret that Texas weather can endure some pretty severe storms. From March through May, which is the spring storm season, it’s not uncommon to see hailstorms, tornadoes, and severe thunderstorms. These weather events can bring life-changing damage. Many times these storms come up with little notice, making their effects even more catastrophic.
One way you can minimize the effects Texas weather can have on your home and belongings is to be prepared. This doesn’t mean just a day before the storm. This means being proactive and doing your homework about how your home and auto insurance claims are processed and what is included, among other tasks.
Let’s take a look at how to prepare for Texas weather so that you’re not left with a mess that you can’t handle.
The Calm Before the Storm
If you’ve lived in Texas for a while you know that it can be calm one day and downright catastrophic the next. That’s why you should take advantage of the calm way before the storm to start preparing.
Do a home inventory.
Few people really have a true idea of what is inside their home that is of value. Although it may sound tedious, doing a home inventory before the storm will make it much easier if you need to make home and auto insurance claims after the storm. In order to make the daunting task easier, consider these tips:
- Take pictures of your belongings. This will not only save time from writing everything down, but it will also give you a perfect look at the condition of items before any damage. This affects how much money you may receive if things are damaged.
- Make a video. If you don’t want to take countless pictures, make a video where you can document everything in the house and its condition. You can also do this with your vehicle.
- Use other technology. There are also many apps that can help you organize your home inventory.
Closely examine your home and auto insurance policies.
Not enough people really know the ins and outs of their insurance policies. Unless prices change from year to year, many people just float through letting their policies renew blindly. If you’re doing your storm prep work, there’s no time like the present than to really get to know your policies. Here are the things you should take note of:
- How much are you insured for and what is your deductible? If you’re the victim of a devastating storm this information is going to be crucial as you clean-up and rebuild. If you realize that you’re not carrying enough coverage this is a good time to talk to your agent and bump up your coverage and possibly lower your deductible. You may also want to consider adding flood insurance if you live near areas that are prone to flooding. This can be a game-changer when it comes to making claims after a storm.
- Do you have the contact information for your agent? It may sound like a silly question, but many people don’t know who to call if they need help with their policy. Having this information handy will be useful in the event of a major storm.
- Don’t forget about your vehicles. Many people are so concerned about their homes that they forget their vehicles. Depending on the condition and age of your vehicles, you may want to consider carrying comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage pays to repair or replace a vehicle that gets damaged by something other than a crash. This includes things like fire and weather-related issues.
Have a Safe Room in Place.
Many storms have the ability to bring down trees and blow out windows. This is why having a safe room in place is important, especially if you live in areas that are prone to tornadoes.
A safe room is an area in the interior of your home without windows. If possible, it should be on the lowest floor in the home and away from any outside walls. Closets, bathrooms, or rooms under a staircase are usually good spots. According to FEMA, you should pick a room that is big enough for everyone in the family to stand in comfortably for two hours.
Move documents and valuables to a safe place.
Whether you know a storm is coming or not, you should always keep important documents somewhere safe. For many people, this means renting a safe deposit box at a local bank. This way you know that your most important papers and smaller possessions, such as a grandmother’s wedding ring, are in a safe place.
Make an emergency kit.
Have an emergency kit available for you and those in your home. This should include food and water for three days. Obviously, food needs to be non-perishable so that it can be stored without issue. Flashlights, medications, and copies of important documents (in case you couldn’t store them safely) are also good to have.
After the Storm
No matter how much you prepare for bad weather, Mother Nature can still cause severe damage. Once the storm is over and you begin assessing the damage, you’ll want to document everything with photos or video. You also want to contact your insurance agent as soon as possible to report the damage.
If possible, make temporary repairs to avoid injury or any further damage. As you work to make permanent fixes, always research the contractor you’re hiring. Search reviews and ask for recommendations to avoid getting swindled.
As you prepare for Texas weather, contact Complete Financial Group for information on home insurance and auto insurance policies. We can help you find the best coverage for your needs, especially if your current plans are not up to par.