Owning a home is a huge responsibility. If you rent, someone else is responsible for keeping the house and property in good working order. When you own the home, that responsibility lies with you. If a disaster occurs, you’ll need to either fix or replace whatever was damaged. That can be time consuming, and costly. You’d be much better off if you didn’t have to make repairs in the first place. That means planning ahead. Following are a few tips on how to disaster proof your home.
Carry Adequate Insurance
One of the most important things you can do in order to safeguard your home is to carry adequate insurance. Without enough coverage on your home and property, you could be financially devastated if a tornado, earthquake, hurricane, or similar disaster strikes. It would be a good idea to talk to your insurance agent about what types and amount of coverage will protect you in the event of an emergency. In some cases, you may have to carry additional protection against situations your property may be prone to. For instance, if you live in a flood plain, you’ll probably have to carry a certain amount of flood insurance, whether you want to or not. The same holds true for people who live in places that are frequently in the path of a hurricane or tornado.
Improve Your Home
Insurance coverage is all well and good–and necessary. However, it can be quite costly. You can take steps to improve your home so your insurance premiums will be reduced. Certain upgrades will not only make the house more resistant to damage, they may also increase the value of your home. Take the time to determine what could be improved around the home–anything that would decrease the chances of damage to your property. Even little things, such as putting away lawn furniture if a storm is approaching, could help you save money by avoiding possible damage to the home–the furniture could be picked up and thrown against the house, causing damage to the siding.
Make Sure Your Roofing Is in Good Shape
In severe weather, such as thunderstorms with high winds, tornados, or hurricanes, one of the first things to sustain damage on your home could be your roof. Traditional shingles are okay, as long as they’re in good repair. You should check your roof often for loose shingles. Damage to your roof could allow rain to penetrate and damage the interior the home, as well as the roof itself. If you install metal roofing, your home may be much less susceptible to storm damage. Metal roofing will also come in handy during winter months. If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, you may have to clear it off the roof periodically. With metal roofing, you won’t have to do that, because it is designed in such a way as to simply slide off.
Install Storm Doors and Windows
Another way to improve the stability of your home is to install storm doors and windows. Although there’s no guarantee they’ll stand up to severe storms, they are a definite improvement over traditional windows and doors. You can improve the safety of the home even more by putting up shutters over the windows, which is common practice in areas that are in a hurricane path. If you can’t afford shutters, placing a piece of plywood over the windows will accomplish the same purpose during a storm.
Keep Fire Extinguishers Handy
At times a storm could damage the electrical system in your home. If that happens, live wires may cause a fire to break out. It would be a good idea to keep a number of fire extinguishers handy, just in case. Even in times when there is no storm, having a fire extinguisher available could prevent a disaster from occurring. A small grease fire on the stove has the potential to cause considerable damage unless you have the means to put it out quickly. A fire extinguisher within easy reach could prevent that from happening.
Trim Your Trees
Most homes have a number of trees surrounding them, because they improve the landscape. In order to prevent damage during a storm, you should make sure the trees are properly maintained. If you allow large limbs to hit the roof, or otherwise brush against the house, they could cause damage during high winds. Trim the trees back, so they aren’t near your house. Remove any dead branches, because they could break off and go through a window or damage the siding.
Guest post from Nicky Shaw. Nicky writes for HomeSecurity.org.