If you have lived in South Carolina for any period of time, you are likely familiar with the onset of Hurricane Season, which begins June 1st and lasts through November 30th. During this time, the weather is unpredictable, but there are things property owners and tenants should do to prepare in case of an emergency. It is crucial to take precautions to protect your rental home, and your family, during the event of a hurricane; to help, we have provided some tips to follow.
Check Your Insurance
The first thing any property owner or tenant should do to prepare for hurricane season is to check their insurance policy. Most basic policies do not include coverage for storm or significant property damage. For this reason, it is important to ensure that property owners have coverage for flood and hurricane damage and understand the details of each policy. In addition to storm coverage, property owners should also require that tenants to have renter’s insurance (if it is not already required). This will allow the tenant’s personal belongings to be insured in the event of a natural disaster.
If you are a property owner or manager, it is a good idea to speak with your tenant about forming a plan in the event of a hurricane. Share the precautionary measures you have already taken to protect the property, and refer them to preparedness resources, such as scemd.org and ready.gov. This is especially important if the tenant is not familiar with the area, or has not lived in an area prone to natural disasters. You should also ask tenants about their plans for the storm, and whether they are planning to evacuate or stay in the unit.
Prepare the Property
Both property owners and tenants can take action to prepare the rental home for safety before a hurricane hits. Start by moving all outdoor furniture and decorations inside and removing any dead branches that could potentially cause damage to the rental or other surrounding homes. If the property has hurricane shutters, double check that they are in place; if there are no shutters, board up the windows to protect them from high winds and debris. You should also check that your roof does not have any signs of a leak, and consider using hurricane straps to strengthen the roof and secure it to the home’s walls. To prepare the inside of the home, make sure to unplug all electronics and appliances to prevent damage from electricity loss. Also store important items and documents in a fireproof safe and stock your pantry to ensure you have food and water essentials for an extended period of time.
Once your home has been prepared, there are more precautions property owners and tenants should take to keep themselves and others safe during a hurricane. First, it is important to stay informed about what is happening. The earlier you learn about the formation of a hurricane, the more time you will have to be prepared, and the less stressed you will be during the event. Keep an eye on local news sources and government websites to stay in the know about developments and ordinances. You should also make an emergency plan in advance, including an evacuation route and emergency contacts to refer to. Finally, pack an emergency kit that can easily be taken in case of evacuation. This should include three days worth of food and water for each family member, first aid kits, battery powered flashlights/lanterns, batteries, a tool kit, portable cell phone charges, and personal hygiene items.
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