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Call To Action: Protecting Your Present

Help protect your present dwelling by retrofitting your home.
The most important precaution you can take to reduce damage to your home and property is to protect the areas where wind can enter. According to recent wind technology research, it's important to strengthen the exterior of your house so wind and debris do not tear large openings in it. You can do this by protecting and reinforcing these four critical areas: A great time to start securing, or retrofitting, your house is when you are making other improvements or constructing additions. Remember: building codes reflect the lessons experts have learned from past catastrophes. Contact the local building code official to find out what requirements are necessary for your home improvement projects.

Help protect your present dwelling through flood insurance.
When you hear hurricane, think flooding, both from storm surge and from inland flooding. Learn your vulnerability to flooding by determining the elevation of your property. Evaluate your insurance coverage; as construction grows around areas, floodplains change.

Why flood insurance? Because damage from floods are not usually covered by homeowners policies. Flood insurance is affordable. The average flood insurance policy costs a little more than $300 a year for about $100,000 of coverage. In comparison, a disaster home loan can cost you more than $300 a month for $50,000 over 20 years.

You should know that usually you can get flood insurance, if available, by contacting your regular homeowners insurance agent. FEMA and others recommend that everyone in special flood hazard areas buy flood insurance. If you buy a home or refinance your home your mortgage lender or banker may require flood insurance. But, even if not required, it is a good investment especially in areas that flood frequently or where flood forces are likely to cause major damage.

If you are in a flood area, consider what mitigation measure you can do in advance. For example, in highly flood-prone areas, keep materials on hand like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, plastic garbage bags, lumber, shovels, work boots and gloves. Call your local emergency management agency to learn how to construct proper protective measures around your home.

There is usually a 30-day waiting period before the coverage goes into effect. Plan ahead so you're not caught without flood insurance when a flood from tropical cyclones threatens your home or business. Remember, federal disaster assistance is not the answer. Federal disaster assistance is only available if the President declares a disaster. More than 90 percent of all disasters in the United States are not Presidentially declared. Flood insurance pays even if a disaster is not declared.

National Flood Insurance Program call 1.888.CALL.FLOOD ext. 445, TDD# 1.800.427.5593.

Next: Protecting Your Future

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Page last modified: July 27, 2004
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