Top 4 DIY Projects to Prepare for Weird Weather

Protect What’s Yours When Wicked Weather Comes Crashing Down…

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Basic “Terror Weather” Prepping Steps You Can Implement Yourself
  • Stay Informed: Knowledge is power. In this case, power means survival. Keep a battery-powered AM/FM radio and/or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio receiver at arm’s reach. It’s invaluable to stay tuned to changing events and stay one step ahead of the herd.
  • Prepare a Disaster Survival Kit: Keep at least three days’ worth of essentials like water, first aid, food, and equipment to stay warm and dry.
  • Create an Evacuation Plan: Know your environment and the likely causes of natural disasters: earthquake, tsunami, wildfire, landslide, hurricane, etc. Practice your plan with friends and family, and consider hooking up with volunteer emergency response groups in your area to learn additional prepping skills. Plan multiple escape routes from your home, from your neighborhood, and from your city; you never know what direction trouble is going to come from.
  • Really get to know your neighborhood. Many people know their neighborhood only from the public street. It’s important to discover nearby hazards as well as escape routes that can be used on-foot and off-road. During a period of heavy rain in New Hampshire a few years ago, several homeowners heard a loud roar, followed by a massive wall of water smashing into their properties. It turns out that a neighbor a few hundred yards uphill had constructed a large, unlicensed earthen dam so he could have a pond in his backyard. A few minutes exploring their neighborhood on foot (or on Google Earth) would have revealed the hazard.
Nature’s Wrath, Unpredictable – Reminds Us to Review Insurance Coverage and Take Basic Preparedness Seriously
Some natural disasters like earthquakes can’t be predicted at all. In other cases, like hurricanes, tornados, high winds, torrential rains, rising rivers, and heavy snow, Mother Nature gives at least some advance warning. You can use that warning time to your advantage, provided you’ve laid the groundwork of basis prepping ahead of time.
Stay ahead of the masses by putting weather headlines on your homepage and setting up weather alerts on your smart-phone. Or go “old school” with a traditional weather radio.
Then take a second to review your insurance coverage. You don’t have to pore over lots of paperwork – simply call your agent for a quick review. At the moment, millions of people are putting their lives back together and properly structured insurance can help make them whole again.
Insurance Can Make You Whole Again…
If You Have the Right Kind and the Right Amount
Rebuilding a House
We don’t have the room to get into the details here, because it’s complex and changes from region to region. However, in a USA Today article, research firm Marshall & Swift stated that 96% of homeowners have insurance, but 64% of them have too little.
“People will not have enough money to rebuild their homes,” says Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange’s Martin Hartley.
According to the Insurance Research Council, renters are worse off because only 43% of them have renters insurance, leaving their personal belongings at risk.
To make sure you have the proper protection, speak with a knowledgeable insurance agent who has experience with the common risks in your area. Also, make sure your agent explains the different definitions and scenarios for claims.
Some policies replace your items at market value (i.e. what you would get for them if sold at a garage sale). Others base claims at full replacement cost, what it costs to buy the item new. The latter costs more, but could it be an important feature if you live in an area that suffers broad damage; in which case, local prices could rise when thousands of families try to rebuild at the same time.
A Few Special Situations
  • Damage caused by water, rain, and flooding are not the same. In most cases, if a pipe leaks and causes damage, or the roof blows off in a tornado and rain water causes damage inside, these would be covered in a standard homeowner’s policy. But if ‘flooding’ caused the damage, you’re probably not covered (unless you own a specific flood insurance policy).
    In general terms, Smart Money defines flooding as “water that rises from the ground, including tidal waves, as well as destruction from rapid snow melts.”
  • Standard policies don’t cover earthquake damage. Ask your agent about getting a separate earthquake policy.
  • If you live in an area affected by hurricanes, talk to your agent about properly insuring yourself against hurricane related damage.
  • Live in the hills or mountains where wildfires are a potential threat? Ask your agent about special situations you need to know to stay properly insured.
  • Natural disaster safe rooms. In one story, a family from Athens, Alabama survived a tornado that killed 250 of their neighbors because they held out in the safe room built in their detached garage. The garage blew away, but they and their safe room stayed put. FEMA has safe room plans to look at: https://www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/saferoom/fema320.shtm
  • After the brunt of the disaster has passed and you and your loved ones are out of immediate danger, carefully and safely clear up debris and protect what’s left of your property (i.e. cover holes in the roof or windows) to prevent further damage.
Keep an Inventory of Your Belongings to Get Paid Faster…
A home inventory, the original and copies kept in a safe place (but not together), can help you file a claim quickly and get to the front of the line to receive your insurance money. This is especially important if you live in a region with broad damage, where tens of thousands of people will try to submit claims at the same time.
Take photos and video of your personal belongings, serial numbers, and receipts. Keep copies on USB thumb drives, store a copy in a fireproof and waterproof safe, another copy offsite, and think about keeping encrypted copies on a cloud-based storage system like Wuala.com.
For more tips, check out State Farm Insurance’s Learning Center. https://learningcenter.statefarm.com/residence/insurance-2/creating-a-home-inventory/
While you get your disaster preparedness plans set up and fully stocked, remember to take a moment to review your insurance protection so you can be made whole again after the danger passes.
If all of this sounds inconvenient, let us just say it’s a lot easier to take care of these items in advance, rather than when disaster is imminent or in the aftermath. Preparing in advance can bring real peace of mind, allow you to respond appropriately when weird weather hits, and recover quickly once it’s over.