Living in the South Mississippi my whole life, I understand the severity of hurricane season and pretty much know what to expect. At least I thought I did. Hurricane season lasts from June 1st until November 30th. This year has been a particularly active one with over 20 named storms having formed to date. So many so that we have now ventured into the Greek alphabet. Having several near misses to the coast, I think we all weren’t expecting things to be as bad as they were. On Tuesday before the storm hit, I went and picked up a few hurricane snacks fully expecting things to be fine. Boy was I wrong. Hurricane Zeta blew into the area at a Category 2, but I swear it felt more like a Category 3! The wind and rain were so loud it almost sounded as if someone was walking, more like stomping on the roof. It was very scary!
Once the storm passed, I wasn’t sure where to start. I wanted to share a few things I learned after the hurricane, and some of the steps I took.
- Never let your guard down – First and most important thing that this all has taught me is to never let your guard down. Prepare, prepare, PREPARE. Thinking that things won’t be bad or that it won’t hit is the wrong attitude to hit. Hurricane paths can change in the blink of an eye. Secure your home, gather important documentation, gas your vehicles and have a few days’ worth of cash. If you’re new to area and not sure how to prepare, Pinterest has some good checklists to help.
- Be prepared for the damages – Once everything is over and your home is secure assess the possible damages. This was not my first time experiencing a hurricane; however, it was my first time as a homeowner. Before doing anything, I contacted my insurance agent. I took several photos of the damages and surrounding areas. Next began the clean-up process. Be sure and keep all receipts related to any repairs for insurance purposes.
- Don’t assume the insurance is just going to cut a check – After you have made a claim the insurance company is going to dispatch an adjuster to review the damages. Some people assume they are going to come out with a big check following a storm, but this may not be the case. This is way you should always read your policy thoroughly. There may be some loopholes that cover the insurance company in the event of a storm.
- Watch out for shifty “contractors” – After every storm there will be some slick “contractors”, and I use that word loosely, who blow into town to capitalize off people in need of repairs. They will try and overstate prices to get over on you and the insurance company. I had someone quote me an exorbitant amount just to remove a tree from my yard that was already down! Do your homework and make sure and get several quotes before going with someone. If It feels like it’s not right, don’t do it.
- Look for the positives – lastly try and look at the bright side. I know cheesy right?! But believe me it could be far worse. No matter how minor or major the damage may be, it all can be replaced. As they always say, “this too shall pass…” !!
Do you have any crazy hurricane or weather tips to share?