Each year, hurricanes, tornadoes and other events involving high winds cause devastating property damage and loss to homeowners all over the country. Insurance agents are tasked with finding the best insurance coverage for property owners, but the insured should take steps to help reduce wind damage before it occurs, too. Aside from providing adequate wind insurance that fits the specific needs of their clients, it is also important for agents to highlight different steps that their clients can take themselves to help physically protect their property. Below are some things that property owners can do to reduce wind damage.
Always Keep Outdoor Items Secured
Any loose items outside of a structure are potentially destructive if picked up in a hurricane, tornado or windstorm. Patio and pool furniture, trampolines, outdoor toys, grills, trash cans, piles of firewood and other objects can easily become projectiles that can cause major damage to buildings and cars or be launched through windows, potentially injuring residents or visitors. Many of these items can be secured when not in use to avoid the risk of them becoming airborne in a windstorm.
Even storage sheds, playhouses or other small structures can be a hazard if the wind is strong enough. These small structures should be securely anchored either to a permanent foundation or using a system of straps and ground anchors like the type used for manufactured homes.
Reinforce Building Features That May Be Most Vulnerable
Certain features of a structure are more vulnerable to damage from high winds than others. Windows, garage doors, and roofs are especially prone to being damaged either by wind itself or from projectiles picked up during a storm. Because of this, extra care should be taken to ensure these features are reinforced. If a door or window is broken or blown open and the wind then enters the structure, it can cause significant structural damage to the building.
Practice Proper Landscape Maintenance
It isn’t just the outdoor items that can cause problems during a windstorm. Plants and trees can also provide ammunition in a storm, breaking windows, tearing through walls or puncturing roofs. One of the easiest ways to prevent damage to a home from falling or broken trees is to ensure trees are far enough away from the building that they are unable to reach it if they were to fall or if large branches were to break off. Since many property owners buy property that already has trees in place near a building, this may not be possible for everyone. Proper care and maintenance of trees and plants can also help prevent them from damage. Large trees should especially be routinely checked for good health. Trees with features such as rot, stem girdling roots, severed roots or obvious soil compaction are more vulnerable to being damaged or causing damage in a windstorm and should be removed or properly treated by a professional as soon as possible.
Windstorms are unavoidable in almost every part of the country. However, awareness and preparedness can help property owners reduce their chances of wind damage and avoid some of the costly insurance claims that go along with it.
About Wilmington Insurance Agency
Wilmington Insurance Agency delivers comprehensive coastal property solutions. We are a Managing General Agency and provide independent insurance agents with property and liability insurance solutions for residents and businesses primarily in Maryland and Virginia. We work alongside our sister company, Wilmington Insurance Company, established in 1996 and providing Property & Casualty commercial lines business, homeowners, and condominium insurance in the state of Delaware. To learn more about how we can help you to expand your book of business in the coastal market, contact us at (302) 231-2800.