When a hurricane threatens, follow these
last-minute steps to reduce damage to your home.

1. Get reliable weather information and alerts

Cost: $0-$25

Time: 1-3 Hours

Stay alert to help you stay safe.

  • Find a reliable source for hurricane updates. Pay attention to hurricane forecasts from the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Follow the NHC on Facebook or Twitter and tune in to local news often. 
  • Enable wireless emergency alerts on your cell phone. Be sure location information is enabled on your phone. Learn more from the National Weather Service (NWS).
  • Buy a battery-powered radio and new batteries. Local radio stations are a powerful source of information during and after a hurricane when power may be out.

Note: Maps are used to communicate critical weather information. Know where you are on a map and know your county name.

2. Tidy up outdoors

Cost: $0

Time: 1-3 Hours

Items on the lawn or patio could become flying debris and damage your home.

Secure weak or loose fencing and mailboxes; anchor heavy objects deep into the ground; and make a storage plan for loose objects. For example, plan to bring items like bikes, benches, and plant pots into a garage or storage building, and put pool furniture inside or into the pool so it won’t be blown away.

3. Put up shutters on ALL windows

Cost: $0

Time: 1-3 Hours

Get shutters in place ahead of the storm.

Plywood should only be used in place of shutters as a last-minute resort when tropical weather is imminent. Additionally, taping windows provides no protection and wastes time.

4. Close your garage door and all interior doors  

Cost: $0

Time: 10 minutes

Give your roof a fighting chance.

In addition to closing exterior doors and windows, closing your garage door all the way and closing all interior doors can give your roof a fighting chance in high winds. If a window is broken by flying debris or a door has blown open, your house will rapidly fill with air. This will cause a dangerous increase in the forces pushing on your roof―imagine a balloon inflating inside your house.

Rigorous scientific wind testing on a full-scale 1,400-square-foot single-story home at the IBHS Research Center revealed that closing interior doors helps compartmentalize the pressure inside a home into smaller areas, reducing the force on the roof by as much as 30%. That gives the roof a better chance of staying intact.

5. Add important contacts to your phone and tell others your plan 

Cost: $0

Time: 1-3 Hours

Know who to call after severe weather.  

  • Store your insurance agent’s contact information in your phone. 
  • Let loved ones know where you plan to go.

6. Create a home inventory

Cost: $0

Time: 1-3 Hours

Documenting your belongings is easier before a storm.

Create a detailed list or video of your belongings in case an insurance claim is needed. Learn more about how to create a home inventory from the Insurance Information Institute.

Note: Enabling geotagging (turning on location services) when taking photographs or video could help ease your claims process because it verifies the location of your items.

7. Seal gaps and cracks

Cost: Under $10

Time: 1 Hour

Water can easily enter your home through small openings. 

Use a tube of silicone caulk to seal cracks and gaps to keep water out of your home. Check all exterior walls and around windows, doors, electrical boxes, vents, and pipes.

8. Check your gutters

Cost: Under $0-$40

Time: 1-3 Hours

If water isn’t properly diverted, heavy rain can cause leaks in your ceiling or basement or other damage. 

  • Clean any debris from your gutters. 
  • Extend downspouts away from the house to divert water. 

9. Secure shingles on your roof

Cost: Under $10

Time: 1-3 Hours

Loose shingles can come off in high winds and let water into your home. 

Use a tube of roofing cement to secure loose shingle tabs to keep them on the roof and keep water out. Place three 1-inch dots of roofing cement under the tab to secure it (dots should be no more than 11 inches apart). Reseal all loose shingles and all shingles around the edge of the roof.