While there may be some debate about the cause, more and more people are accepting the fact that a changing climate is leading to extremely erratic weather with more intense storms, prolonged drought, and rising temperatures.
This has led to some of the most dramatic disasters in the U.S. Throughout these impressive weather swings, roofs have been damaged, homes flooded, trees toppled and vast acreage blackened. Many property owners are wondering what’s next and what they can do to safeguard their property?
Here are some important steps that you can take to help protect your property and your family from the major effects of climate change.
Snow and ice storms, hurricanes and spring/summer thunderstorms have become more intense. From record hail, tornado outbreaks, and torrential downpours; our homes and property are taking a beating.
When these storms hit, check and repair:
- Roofs and shingles
- Gutters and downspouts
- Decks and porches for loose, cracked or exposed wood
- Exterior for chipped or peeling paint, cracks, holes or exposed wood or siding
- Attics for evidence of leaks
- Basements or crawl spaces for damp areas and cracks
- Concrete slabs for cracks or shifting soil
- Chimneys for damage or dirty flues
- Trees and bushes for broken or weak trunks and branches, and removing any branches that overhang your home
Wildfires in much of the country have burned hotter and consumed more structures and acreage in recent years. Climate change has extended the fire season by an extra two months across the U.S.! In much of the South and West it begins in early spring, ending late fall.
Fire prevention experts recommend that anyone in or near a fire-prone area, especially what is called the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), needs to take these steps to minimize their fire risk and help responding crews:
- Create at least a 100 foot defensible space area around homes and structures (200 feet or more may be needed on hillside areas)
- Keep combustible wood piles, propane tanks and other flammable materials 30 feet from homes and structures
- Remove weeds and dry shrubs near structures
- Keep laws trimmed and mowed
- Trim tree branches 10 feet up from the ground and remove any that overhang your home or other structures, and keep trees spaced 30 feet apart
- Install a fire resistant roof and deck
- Make sure your street name and address are visibly posted for emergency vehicles
- Clear flammable vegetation 10 feet from roads and five feet from driveways, and cut back overhanging branches on roads and drive ways
Keeping your home well maintained is essential to withstand the vagaries of weather. You can find more wildfire preparation tips here.
Know Your Insurance
In the event of these extreme storms it is also critical that you understand your insurance and know:
- If your homeowners policy includes replacement cost or actual cash value,
- Whether you are covered for new additions, improvements or appliance and other upgrades,
- That a floater or scheduled personal property endorsement is needed to fully cover high value items such as fine art, furs, jewelry, silverware and musical instruments
Keep in mind: flood and earthquake insurance are not included with your home or renters policy. However when you have California Casualty, you can easily add each to your policy though our agency services program. Please contact: 1.877.652.2638 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Another important coverage you should add to your policy is comprehensive coverage. Without it your vehicle won’t be protected if it is damaged or destroyed by a flood, fire or falling tree limb. To ask a customer service representative about adding comprehensive coverage please contact: 1.800.800.9410 or visit www.calcas.com
Lastly, make sure your belongings are also completely covered in the event of a storm or fire. If you haven’t completed a home inventory yet, now is the time to do it. Having a list and proof of the things you own will help you with reimbursement if your home or apartment is damaged by a natural disaster. For our free Home Inventory Guide click here.
This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.