This article is sponsored by Anderson Insurance Agency.
It’s spring! The season of wildflowers, warm sunny days, allergies, tornados, hail, and damaging afternoon thunderstorms.
This year’s spring storm season follows a February of record-setting damage and a year in which we learned how very little most of us can control. But Ann Anderson of Anderson Insurance Agency is here to remind us that, although we can’t always predict the local storms, tornados, and hail events, we can still take important steps to ensure the safety of our homes and property.
On a recent episode of The Frisco Podcast, Ann discussed storm preparation with the Lifestyle Frisco team:
“We always say, ‘Oh, that’ll never happen!’ But we all saw what happened last February. Water especially is so invasive and we’ve learned that the hard way. Water just goes everywhere when it gets out of control. We think disasters won’t happen…”
How to Prepare for Storm Season
Instead of just assuming the worst won’t happen, Anderson suggests that Frisco homeowners put into action a tangible list of ways to mitigate risk and minimize damage and aftermath cost.
Review your policies.
Anderson encourages Frisco residents to review their homeowner’s insurance policies. “Check the limits. Limits of insurance are a big deal. It could be 25% of your dwelling value or $25,000 — those words matter when you make a claim.” She notes, “Farmer’s insures 100% of your dwelling value, which is a big deal when you’re making a $150,000 claim.”
Anderson also urges homeowners to see what the coverage says about separate structures, including pools, guesthouses, and other spaces on the property. “Make sure you know what your deductible covers,” Ann urges. “Is your insurance per event? Per building? Understand it and ask lots of questions in advance of catastrophe.”
Finally, Anderson notes, residents should review the coverage regarding different causes of loss listed in the policy. For instance, a power failure of the property causing flooding in the owner’s home may not be covered by a homeowner’s policy.
Perform basic seasonal maintenance.
Basic seasonal maintenance on a home’s property can go a long way towards protecting possessions during storm season. Homeowners should seasonally do a thorough sweep of the property to prepare for spring storms. The following are especially important:
- Clean out the gutters and storm drains to minimize flooding and maximize drainage.
- Check sump pumps for clogs and equipment repairs.
- Trim bushes and trees around the house.
Storm-proof the house and yard.
Anderson encourages homeowners to take steps in their home and yard that provide permanent mitigation of storm risk. These steps include installing storm shutters and using mulch rather than gravel in landscaping beds.
“There are all sorts of devices that can help prevent losses, as well,” notes Anderson. “For instance, there are alarms that can shut off water pumps and water heaters if they sense the equipment is failing.”
Other potential steps homeowners should take include investing in a backup generator in case of power failure. For those who run businesses out of their home, Anderson reminds them to check on their business interruption insurance and to ensure that important or critical data is backed up and accessible off-site.
Maintain property and weather awareness.
Anderson encourages homeowners to be meticulous in documenting the current state of their home and any current damage, especially on siding, roofs, windows, or doors. Insurance claims are easier and faster to process when new damage is clearly documented.
She also encourages homeowners to stay aware regarding weather warnings and to be diligent about securing heavy furniture and equipment if bad weather is predicted.
What to Do After the Storm
After a storm has hit or damage has occurred, Anderson encourages homeowners to resist the urge to just assume the damage is done.
“There are lots of steps you can take to minimize damage after a catastrophic event,” she notes. “If there is flooding, turn on fans, do your best to dry out rooms, and try to prevent mold growth.”
“If you’re managing damage during the same time as many in the community, insurance providers can be overwhelmed. You may be dealing with delays, but there are lots of things that you can do on your own to protect yourself and your property.”
Anderson also encourages residents to find contractors referred only through trusted sources.
“If you can’t call your agent to get a referral,” she laughs, “you may need a new agent. But, there are lots of places to get trusted contractor referrals. Make sure that your contractor is registered with the city or that you can find their license online. Disasters are a magnet for scams. If someone demands payment or partial payment up front, walk away.”
Homeowners should take notes of all damage that they note after a storm event, especially since even small dings and bits of damage such as loose shingles can represent much larger repairs.
“Contact your agent as soon as possible after a storm event,” Anderson encourages.
And if spring storm season is making you ask questions about your homeowner’s coverage, be assured that Anderson and her team are always there, happy to help the residents of Frisco protect themselves, their families, and their homes.