Hurricane checklist

Hurricane checklist: Preparing for a hurricane or tropical storm

If you live in a coastal state where hurricanes are likely to occur, you’re probably aware of the devastating impact hurricanes can have to a person’s home, family and livelihood. You may feel like there is not much you can do but wait and hope for the best during storm season. If you have homeowners insurance, one of the most important things you can do to prepare is done. Once your homeowners insurance is in place, it’s time to learn your hurricane risk and take necessary steps to prevent loss.

From the supplies you need for a hurricane to steps you can take to prepare, following this simple hurricane checklist will help you think about what you need to do when a storm is projected to make landfall near your home. There are plenty of actions you can take to protect your home, family and personal belongings before a hurricane.

Download your own clickable hurricane preparedness checklist.

Prepare your documents

  • Familiarize yourself with your homeowners insurance policy and understand your coverages. Reach out to your agent if you have questions.
  • Add a flood endorsement if you don’t already have one (note: can take 30 days to become active).
  • Inventory your personal property.
  • Make sure you have access to your policy documents. Create an account with your insurance provider online, or make sure you know your credentials if you already have one. If you don’t have online access to documents, create a folder with items like your policy declaration page that you can quickly grab if you need to evacuate.
  • Familiarize yourself with the process of filing a claim.

Prepare your family

  • Create an emergency plan — don’t forget to plan for your pets
  • Log important numbers in your phone and consider a water-safe backup should your phone become damaged in a disaster
  • Build an emergency kit
  • Remember those who need extra assistance, like seniors and people with disabilities
  • Notify your family if you need to evacuate and share any important contact information with them
  • Create a to-do list of items specific to your family and property that you won’t want to forget to take care of when you have to shift into crisis mode
  • Consider purchasing a waterproof utility case for valuable documents and personal items — secure your items here if you need to evacuate

Prepare your home

  • Reinforce windows with hurricane shutters or have plywood on hand
  • Consider replacing windows, doors and garage openings with storm-resistant options
  • Inspect and strengthen your roof
  • Trim trees and shrubs
  • Remove debris and secure outdoor lawn and decorative items
  • Keep drains and gutters clear
  • Know where and how to turn your water and power off
  • Fill your vehicle gas tank
  • Test your generator and have plenty of fuel ready in case of power outages
  • Charge your cell phone

If you need to evacuate:

  • Unplug all appliances
  • Close interior room doors
  • Lock all windows and doors