Hurricane 101 for Winter Haven Residents

Everyone in Florida is breathing a sigh of relief after narrowly missing a hit by Hurricane Laura, but that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods for the rest of the season! Hurricane preparation is a popular topic here, but for folks in Polk County, it can look very different than that of our neighbors on the east and west coasts of the state. How can you prepare for a hurricane here in Central Florida?

Prepare for Insurance Claims Before The Storm. If you are in the path of a hurricane, regardless of severity, you could be at risk for storm damage. A great way to prep for coverage claims before the storm even arrives is to use your cell phone to document each room and its contents, and then email the video and/or photo files to yourself so they are stored within an external source. Don’t forget spaces like your garage, and even the outside of your home. Additionally, consider doing a walk around of your vehicle taking photo and video as well, so if any damage is sustained to your vehicle during the storm, you have proof that it was not pre-existing.

Take Care of Important Records and Paperwork. Wind and water damage can wreak havoc on a home, even in the central part of the state. Even if you aren’t in a flood-prone area, water damage can come from heavy rains and potential leaks. Your important paperwork (social security cards, marriage license, birth certificates, titles to your home and vehicle, etc.) should be protected and you should have access to multiple copies. Take pictures of all important documents (or scan them into your computer) and email them to yourself or a trusted loved one so you have them stored externally. Then take all those important documents and seal them in waterproof, zip-top bags, and place them in a secure location (a safe is ideal) or pack them to take with you if you are evacuating. Tip: If you are worried about severe wind and water damage, consider emptying your dishwasher and storing important items inside. Your dishwasher is watertight, and since it’s (usually) connected to centrally located cabinetry and walls, it will be more likely to withstand conditions and remain intact.

Take All Possible Precautions with Your Home and Property. If possible, park your vehicles inside your garage since debris, falling limbs, etc. can cause extensive damage. Bring in all outdoor furniture, accessories, and loose objects from around the exterior of your home since they can become weapon-like in high winds and cause damage to your house and other homes around you. Masking tape and/or sheets of plywood can be used to secure doors and windows if you are at risk for severe winds, and rolling up towels around creases of doors and windows can help absorb rain being blown in. Finally, if you are in a flood prone area, consider investing in sandbags to blockage doors or low-lying areas around your home to prevent excessive water from coming in.

As Floridians we are all in this together, and Carroll Marshall Insurance is here for you before, during, and after the storms that hit our beloved Sunshine State. As you prepare for, and recover from, bad weather and the damage it causes, our Winter Haven office is ready to help you navigate coverage, claims, and more.

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