Since 1980, the United States has experienced 258 weather and climate disasters exceeding $1 billion in damages. Moreover, scientific research shows severe weather events are likely to become more frequent or intense due to human-induced climate change.
As natural disasters continue to occur across the nation, it's important to make sure your home is ready. By taking some simple steps to prepare for storms, floods, and other emergencies, you can minimize damage to your home and keep your family and pets safe.
The first step to preparing for a disaster is deciding where to live and knowing the area's risks. Different regions are susceptible to various types of disasters. For example, if you live in an area prone to hurricanes, you'll need to take different precautions than in an area prone to earthquakes.
There are several ways to find out what natural disasters are common in your area, such as:
It's crucial to utilize these resources to learn about the types of disasters most common in your area to best prepare your home.
The next step is to create an evacuation plan. Evacuation plans are critical because they provide a step-by-step guide for what to do in an emergency. A good evacuation plan should identify:
Ensure everyone in your household is familiar with the evacuation plan and has a waterproof copy of written instructions for reference.
Once you have a plan, the next step is to purchase insurance. Insurance is vital in a natural disaster because it can help you recover financially from damages to your home or belongings.
Many types of insurance can be helpful during a natural disaster, such as:
Your home is one of the biggest investments you'll ever make, so you should protect it. The two most significant questions when it comes to homeowner's insurance are: how much coverage do you need and what damage does a home insurance cover?
Homeowners insurance typically covers damage from fires, storms, and theft as well as personal belongings such as electronics, clothing, and furniture. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, earthquakes, or tornadoes, be sure to ask your agent about purchasing additional coverage for these disasters.
Renters insurance protects you against theft, water backup damage, certain natural catastrophes, and bodily injuries in a leased property. However, most landlords don’t provide this insurance, so as a tenant, purchase renters insurance to protect your belongings.
Families are not only worried about their safety during a natural disaster, but also the safety of their pets. If you need to evacuate your home, it's important to have a plan for your pet's safety. This is where pet insurance comes in.
Pet insurance can help cover medical expenses for your pet if they are injured during a disaster and need emergency care. Some pet insurance policies also cover:
Pet insurance policies typically have a deductible, co-pay, and maximum benefit limit, so read the policy carefully before purchasing.
Life insurance provides financial protection for your loved ones in the event of your death. If you are the primary breadwinner in your family, it is imperative to have life insurance in case of an untimely death. There are a few types of life insurance:
While these are not the only types of insurance available, they are some of the most common and important to consider when preparing for a natural disaster.
Auto insurance is another essential type of insurance, especially if you live in an area prone to natural disasters. Auto insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing your car if it's damaged in a covered event. Most auto insurance policies also cover:
As with other types of insurance, read your auto insurance policy carefully to understand what is and is not covered.
In addition to having the right insurance policies in place, it's also essential to have a bug-out bag ready. A bug-out bag is a portable kit containing everything you need to survive for 72 hours in an emergency.
Some of the things you should include in your bug-out bag are:
Once you have everything you need packed, store your bug-out bag in an easily accessible place so you can grab it and go if you need to evacuate.
It's also crucial to take steps to prepare your home for a natural disaster. Some of the things you can do to prepare your home are:
Taking the time to prepare yourself, your family, and your home minimizes the damage and disruption caused by these events.
Once you've taken the time to prepare yourself and your home for a natural disaster, it's important to make sure everyone in your household is on the same page.
Tips for preparing include: