When disaster strikes, hindsight can be a painful teacher. We’ve gathered stories from homeowners who learned the hard way that preparation is key. Here are the top things they wish they had done before chaos unfolded.
1. Making a PAPER Contact List
You might think your smartphone has everything, but when the power goes out, so does your lifeline.
Unfortunately, Countless homeowners learned the hard way when they couldn’t contact their loved ones during emergencies. Create a paper contact list and go the extra mile by putting it in sheet protectors or Ziploc bags to ensure it stays safe and dry.
2. Installing Roof Straps
Yes, roofs really can fly off during hurricanes! That means you need to pay for a new roof, and your entire home is exposed to water damage. As one homeowner discovered, the hindsight in this one is particularly bad because roof straps to hold your roof in place are incredibly cheap.
3. Buying a Sump Pump Backup
A sump pump can save you thousands of dollars in damages during floods. But, as one homeowner found out after the water started creeping into the basement, it only works when the power is on. Learn from her mistake and ensure you have a manual or battery backup for your sump pump.
4. Having Boards Ready for Windows
Live in hurricane-prone areas? You need hurricane shutters installed or have sturdy boards pre-cut for the windows. As one homeowner lamented,
“We NEVER want to wait in a 3-hour Home Depot line ever again just to get particle board that warps after one use.”
5. Evacuating Early
This is a common one. People hesitate to evacuate because, “It won’t be that bad” or “The fire won’t spread to my area.”
The next thing they know, they are scrambling to gather belongings and get out of Dodge – along with the masses of other people who waited too long and are now stuck in traffic.
6. Paying for Flood Insurance… And Understanding What’s Covered
Flood insurance is expensive but not nearly as expensive as rebuilding and replacing yourself.
Once you do get flood insurance, make sure you know what is covered. As one homeowner discovered too late, his flood insurance only covered the structure of his home and not its contents.
It only takes a few inches of rising water to do massive damage to everything inside your home!
7. Cataloguing Everything in the House
While on the topic of insurance, documentation is your best friend. Catalog all your possessions with pictures, videos, and receipts. You’d be surprised how much money you spend on belongings over the years, and it’s easy to lose track – and then lose this money when you make a claim.
8. Trimming Trees
Nature can be a menace during a storm. Trim tree branches and remove dying trees to avoid shattered windows, a fallen tree on your car, or a massive hole in your roof.
9. Installing Emergency Apps
Don’t wait until mid-disaster to get those emergency apps on your phone. As one homeowner learned during a hurricane, it’s nearly impossible to download any apps over a degraded internet signal, and you’ll have to make do with what you already have.
10. Getting a Portable Toilet
Her family survived a 1000-year flood – but the waters overwhelmed their septic system. That meant a family of 5 with three females had no useable toilet! Luckily, they were able to devise an emergency toilet but, as she said,
“That pool noodle will never be the same again.”