How a Residential Inspection Can Help Homeowners Prepare for Hurricane Season

How a Residential Inspection Can Help Homeowners Prepare for Hurricane Season
We’re officially in hurricane season, which runs June 1 through November 30. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting between 11 and 17 named storms for 2017, and as many as 9 of these storms could be hurricanes.
Savvy homeowners are already taking steps to protect their properties from the arrival of hurricanes and tropical storms. In fact, the state of Florida recently offered a tax free weekend (June 2-4) on qualifying items related to disaster preparedness.

Insurance carriers, too, are preparing for hurricane season and the onslaught of claims that this time of year brings. Insurance carriers must make thorough underwriting a priority in order to minimize their loss exposure.

Making a residential inspection part of the underwriting process will make carriers aware of risks that would not otherwise be identified if relying on big data. An in-person residential inspection also gives insurance carriers an opportunity to educate homeowners on ways that they can further protect their homes from storms.

A residential inspection can reveal the following improvements for homeowners to make to prepare for hurricane season:

1. Invest in window covers or storm shutters.
The strong winds that a hurricane or tropical storm bring can shatter the glass of windows. Once this happens, all of the contents inside the home will likely be destroyed. To minimize the risk of wind from entering the interior or your home, advise homeowners to invest in commercially-made storm shutters. If budget is a concern, homeowners can cut their own window covers from exterior grade or marine plywood that is at least 5/8 of an inch thick.

2. Use hurricane straps.
In a hurricane, the roof of the the home is often one of the first things to go. Homeowners can use hurricane straps to fasten the roof to the frame of the house to reduce damage to the roof during hurricanes. The state of Florida offers useful instructions for using hurricane straps to protect a property’s roof from hurricane damage.

3. Seal doors and windows.
Doors and windows should be carefully evaluated during a residential inspection. Even the smallest of cracks around doors and windows could expose a property to wind and moisture damage. Proactively caulking doors and windows will minimize the risk of damage during hurricane season.

4. Ensure attached structures are secure.
Examples of attached structures on the property could include carports, porches, and decks. A property inspection will reveal whether these structures are firmly attached or need to be further secured.

5. Test sump pumps and drains.
All drains and sump pumps need to be tested to ensure they’re working properly. As a best practice, it’s always wise to keep extra batteries on hand if needed.

Making a residential inspection part of the underwriting process is a win-win for both the insurer and the insured. At Insurance Risk Services, we’ve been partnering with insurance carriers for more than 35 years to provide accurate underwriting support, including residential inspections. Please contact us to learn more about the value that a property inspection can add to your underwriting process.

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