There doesn’t need to be a hurricane or a tornado for a wind event to wreak havoc on your property. In fact, according to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, branches can start breaking off when winds reach 40 miles per hour, and entire trees can be uprooted when winds reach 55 miles per hour. According to Hippo Insurance, extreme wind—exceeding 100 miles per hour—and hail are responsible for the largest share of property damage claims in the U.S. between 2013 – 2017.
Preparation is your best defense against damage due to wind, say the experts at Hippo, who offer the following advice to help protect your home and your family before a wind event occurs:
Start by taking a good look around your property and secure or store anything that’s not firmly secured to the house or the ground. Grills, patio furniture, kids’ toys, even trampolines can take flight if winds are strong enough, posing a hazard to people and property.
- Assess your trees and shrubs for damage and decay. Remove any fragile branches and cut down any dead trees in danger of falling during high winds. Check with your local waste-management company, which may be able to come and remove yard waste.
- Check the structural components of your house. Are doors or shutters attached by fragile hinges? Are gutter attachments loose? What about your roof shingles? Ongoing home maintenance should involve a thorough review of any items that pose a risk when the winds pick up.
- Create an emergency kit and check it regularly to make sure it’s up-to-date. Your kit should include three days of supplies, including water, batteries, cash, medications, first-aid supplies, a flashlight, blanket, and non-perishable food items. Stash your emergency kit in an easy to access location so it’s handy should you lose power.
- Do a home inventory so that you have an accurate picture of your belongings and their value. Take pictures and/or video and keep an extra printed copy with a family member off-site.
- If high winds are imminent and the weather service issues an official wind advisory, take action inside your home. Move breakable and valuable items away from windows, and put refrigerated items in the freezer if losing power is likely. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and that you have a battery-operated radio on hand.
Finally, whether it’s a wind event or another situation that affects your home and property, always have a copy of your homeowners insurance policy handy.