As I was typing this yesterday, the animals were walking two by two down my street. It had been raining (POURING!) for the greater part of the day and we were experiencing high winds with the possibility of overnight hail and tornadoes. Aaaah…life in Middle Tennessee during the spring. You couldn’t pay me to live anywhere else (although my poor, weather-nervous pups might entertain offers today!), but there are definitely things to consider when you live in an area with volatile weather. However, with a little forethought and planning, you can help protect your home and property from some of the effects of damaging storms.
Consult with your insurance agent and get a clear picture of how and what your homeowner’s policy covers, particularly as it relates to storm related water damage. General homeowner’s insurance policies have very limited water damage. If you live in an area prone to flooding, you may need to purchase a separate policy to protect your home from this disaster. Even storm related water seepage can be excluded, so get the facts and be prepared!
If you have a basement and are concerned about flooding, accept what you can and cannot change. You probably won’t be able to totally eliminate the damage that water might cause to carpeting and drywall. However, you can protect furniture and personal property by making sure that sump pumps are working properly prior to storm season. Stack valuable furniture on tables, chairs, countertops… whatever you can find to keep them off the floor.
Wind (and the damage it might cause) is another serious consideration during this time of year. Most homeowner’s policies will cover damage caused by wind, but reduce the possibility of damage by pruning trees to remove dead branches that might break free in a storm and damage your home, roof, windows, etc… To keep your trees safe, consult your favorite landscaper and ask them to thin the canopies of your trees, particularly soft-wood trees like the ever popular Bradford Pears.
Hail… Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to protect your home from hail, but you can minimize property damage by keeping cars in the garage during storm season. Hail storms can pop up suddenly and can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage, particularly when you consider that each vehicle carries its own deductible. Ouch! When you’re out and about, try to park under or near trees or on the leeward (eastward) side of buildings. This may minimize the effect of hail as these storms usually come from the west.
Last, but not least, lightning strikes can cause exterior and interior problems. Electrical surges generated by lightning strikes can damage computers and other expensive electronic equipment. Surge protectors are not, generally, effective against lightning strikes… they protect our electronics from common power surges. During a lightning storm, the best bet is to unplug all electronics from their main source. If you’re traveling or plan to be away from home for long periods of time, this is also a good idea!