How to Disaster-Proof Your Home

A tornado, hurricane, flood, or some other disaster, could cause an immediate and lasting change in your lifestyle. Where would you live? What would you do? Nowadays, it’s essential to try to financially protect yourself and your home against potentially devastating problems. Following are a few tips on how you can disaster-proof your home.

Improve Your Coverage

It would be a good idea to take a close look at your current homeowners insurance. Determine whether or not it would adequately protect you if a disaster struck. Some surveys show that a significant percentage of homeowners are underinsured. Talk to your friends and neighbors and ask them about their coverage. Compare it with yours, and decide if you need to upgrade. You can also question your agent and a local builder to find out how much it would cost to rebuild or repair your home. They will be able to offer you valuable info.

Fill in the Gaps

When you’re doing an appraisal of your insurance coverage it’s important to look for gaps in coverage. Because a disaster can come at any time, and the damage caused can be considerable, it’s essential to make sure you can fully repair or replace anything that is damaged or lost without a lot of out-of-pocket expense. It’s also important that the necessary work can begin as quickly as possible. Carrying enough insurance, with the right provider, is crucial. Talk to your agent and express your concerns. Ask about ways to ensure you’ll be supplied with enough cash to recover your lifestyle as quickly as possible. Make sure you inquire about extended replacement cost coverage, which will extend your coverage beyond replacement value.

Raise Your Deductible

Any upgrades you make in your insurance coverage are going to cost more money. In order to avoid excessive upfront costs, you may want to consider raising your deductibles. As the deductibles go up the premiums go down–it is a standard practice within the insurance industry. If you take this route, remember it’ll mean having to come up with cash in the event something happens. It may even be a good idea to handle small problems on your own without filing a claim so your premiums remain low. To avoid unnecessary financial difficulty should you have to pay a deductible, it would be a good idea to open a savings account for emergencies. Your money can draw interest until it’s actually needed instead of going for monthly premiums. There may even be some tax advantages to a savings account of this type. Talk to an accountant or tax attorney about the possibility.

Disaster-Proof with Home Improvements

Carrying the right amount and type of insurance so you can financially survive a natural disaster is all well and good, but preventing possible problems in the first place can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. By physically strengthening your home, you may stave off storm damage. Of course, there are no guarantees, because hurricanes, tornados, floods, and earthquakes are capable of destroying anything man can build. However, there are ways to improve your chances of coming away from a disaster with minimal damage. These improvements will not only help protect your property, but will save a little on insurance premiums.

Storm-Proofing

Consult with local builders and government agencies on ways to upgrade your property to protect it from storms and other disasters. Installing roofs that are wind-resistant or putting storm-proof shutters on windows is a good place to start. Having shatter-proof windows may also help. Every area of the country has the potential for natural disasters. Certain areas are susceptible to hurricanes while others are prone to earthquakes. Years of experience in dealing with disasters of this type have led to ways of improving structures to withstand potential problems. Take whatever steps you feel are necessary, and within your means, to protect yourself from natural disasters so that you can treat your insurance coverage as a backup plan.

Guest post from Bailey Harris. Bailey enjoys writing about real estate, insurance, finance, and related topics.

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