The best time to prepare for a hurricane in Pensacola is before a hurricane ever forms in the Gulf of Mexico. It is vital to document the condition of your home, understand your insurance coverages and limits, protect your property as best you can, and have an emergency plan and kit in place. Here is a checklist of things you can do BEFORE a hurricane sets its sights on Pensacola to better prepare yourself, your property, and your family.
1. Document the Condition of Your Home
Walk around your home using your smart phone or other camera taking copious photos or video of each room of your home as well as the exterior of your home, including your garage, fencing, other structures such as sheds, guest houses, etc. A detailed list of all the personal property items that were in your home is usually the hardest thing to recreate after a storm, because it is very difficult to remember all the items as well as their cost. You can use our free Storm Guide to help you document your personal belongings before a storm strikes.
2. Know Your Insurance Coverage
Before a storm forms—and annually just as good practice—you should review your insurance policies to be sure you aware of the types and amounts of coverage you have. Typically homeowners policies provide coverage for your dwelling and other structures, your personal belongings, and your additional living expenses, up to certain limits. You can learn more about the types and amounts of coverage that are important in a hurricane claim here. If you have questions about your coverage, never hesitate to contact us for a free insurance policy and coverage review.
3. Preserve Important Information
Save the footages, videos, lists, and receipts you compiled documenting your personal belongings and the condition of your home in digital form (on a cloud or other external hard drive) and store offsite or in a place that will not suffer damage during the storm. You should include digital copies of your insurance policies and your emergency plan in the same location so you can access these items after the storm. If you have to file an insurance claim as a result of damage sustained from the hurricane, you will want to also begin preserving any information and correspondence you receive from your insurance company in the same location.
4. Take Steps to Protect Your Home
There are many things you can do to improve your home's chances of suffering less damage during a heavy windstorm. Clip and discard battered or dead tree limbs. Cover windows with storm shutters or plywood. Secure or anchor outdoor furniture or stow it inside. Elevate fine furniture a few inches with blocks of wood or sacrificial books. Take down framed objects from the walls. Lower the level of water in your pool and add chlorine. You can view more storm preparation tips below.
5. Put Together a Hurricane Emergency Plan and Kit
Before a storm forms, you should sit down with your family or close friends and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go, and what you will do in case of an immediate evacuation or a hurricane. Keep a copy of this plan in your emergency supplies kit or another safe place where you can access it in the event of a disaster. You should also put together an emergency kit (you can find a detailed list of suggested items here). Check emergency equipment before the storm—such as flashlights, radios, and generators—to ensure they are operating properly. Top your vehicles off with fuel and make sure you have several days' worth of water and non-perishable food.