June 1 is the start of Hurricane season – a familiar annual occurrence for Floridians. Strong winds and flooding do massive damage to Florida homes every year, even if a hurricane doesn’t make landfall. In 2017, Irma alone is estimated to have cost over $8.5 billion in damages.
For those who live in hurricane and flood zones, there are many ways to protect your home from hurricane and flood damage. Some improvements are simple and inexpensive, while others may incur some home improvement costs. However, reinforcing your home against hurricanes and flooding can save you from crippling rebuilding costs if a big storm hits your neighborhood.
Roof Styles and Materials
Your roof is the first line of defense against the strong winds and rain that accompany a hurricane. Having a hip roof can greatly reduce the chances of your home’s structural integrity being compromised by the entire roof being torn away. As far as surface damage, an interlocking metal roof can withstand up to 140 mile an hour winds and has neither shingles nor Spanish tiles to be ripped away.
Storm shutters are a fairly common sight on Florida coastal homes. However, they don’t provide the protection that can be achieved with impact resistant glass. Windows reinforced with impact glass can help prevent heavy rain, hail, hurricane-force winds and flying objects from shattering your windows. A broken window can provide a point of entry for wind, which enters the house, increases pressure, and seeks another way out – often through other windows, doors, or even the roof. (These windows are sometimes called “shatterproof” or “hurricane proof”, but like any type of home improvement, nothing is 100% foolproof.)
When a hurricane sends debris flying through the air at wind speeds exceeding 90 mph, an object as small as a baseball can prove sufficient to knock the average front door down. Once its knocked open, more wind, debris and water can enter into the interior of the home, and just like with a broken window, this leads to pressure which can blow the roof off, and enable extreme interior damage from wind driven rain. Hurricane-resistant doors are typically made of fiberglass, and when installed correctly can result in energy savings as well as protection from hurricane force winds.
Metal Garage Doors
Over 80% of severe home damage caused by a hurricane can be traced back to wind coming through a garage door and ripping interior doors open. Once again, after a single opening is made, wind and rain rush in and pressurize the home, causing other windows, doors, and even the roof to blow off as the pressure tries to equalize. A strong, metal garage door can perform in the same way as a metal roof, withstanding extreme winds and helping minimize the chance of structural damage.
One of the best ways to keep your home protected from a hurricane is to stay on top of regular landscaping and yard maintenance. Clean gutters, prune trees, and make sure outbuildings and fences are secure. Invest in hurricane resistant tree species with strong root systems, and look into soil erosion prevention, especially if you live on the coast.
A nice side benefit to upgrading your home to be more resistant against flooding and hurricanes is that your homeowners insurance company may provide you with a discount. Find out what discounts could possibly apply, and talk to your agent when it comes time for renewal.
About Olympus Insurance Company
Headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, FL and founded in 2007, Olympus Insurance Company specializes in Florida property insurance. Through its independent agency force, Olympus insures $40 billion worth of residential and investment property including homes, condos, rental property, and valuable personal property, with umbrella coverage and Spartan Enhanced Coverage available. Coverage for individual risks up to $5 million in total insured value is provided on one of the most comprehensive coverage forms in the industry.
For more information, visit olympusinsurance.com.