For some people, storms are an excuse to stay indoors and relax. But there are many times when storms can turn ugly, causing damage, outages and other devastating events. Storms are also a major cause of building destruction, which can cost families and businesses a fortune. Whether your community experiences snowstorms, floods, thunderstorms, tornadoes, or other natural disasters, it’s important to stay protected and know what to do in case of a storm emergency.
Each year, the National Weather Service in Wisconsin issues an average of 29 severe thunderstorm watches and 11 tornado watches throughout the state. And once the weather starts to warm up and winter turns to spring, rainfall and thunderstorms become more frequent.
Here are seven ways to shield your home from potential storm damage in advance – before Mother Nature wreaks havoc.
Tips to protect your home during a storm
1. Clear outdoor gear
As soon as you learn a storm is heading your way, quickly stow away all unsecured patio or lawn furniture, gardening tools, sporting equipment and other outdoor items. In addition to blowing away, forceful winds can cause objects to become airborne and not only damage property but also lead to serious injury of bystanders – even if they’re lightweight.
2. Remove large or loose tree branches
Some storms, especially those that involve powerful, high-speed winds, can cause tree branches to snap, resulting in damage to your home’s siding, smashing nearby cars and garages or even collapsing power lines.
At least monthly, carefully inspect your yard’s trees and saw off any branches that appear loose. If you have any old trees that are bent, crooked or have exposed roots from past storms or erosion, consider having them chopped down entirely by a professional service. Also inspect branches that are near power lines on your property. If they are in the way of potentially falling on a power line, contact the electrical company to trim them back.
3. Ensure your roof shingles are secure
Roofs are homes’ first line of defense against severe weather. They are extremely strong yet delicate structures. Especially during storm season, it’s important to make sure your roof’s shingles are securely in place. However, shingles can shift, become damaged or even blown off entirely during a storm. When this happens, the next best step is to replace the shingles when it is safe to do so – ideally, immediately after the storm blows over. To be on the safe side, hire a professional roofer to get the job done and identify areas of damage you may have missed.
4. Invest in standby power
A home backup generator can keep your power on, especially in instances of extreme weather. Fierce storms – or sometimes even moderate winds – can inhibit power sources to your home for anywhere between a few minutes to several days, depending on the severity.
Generators can help ensure the food in your fridge stays fresh, your HVAC units and fans run smoothly and that your essential electronics are able to function until power is fully restored in your area.
5. Floodproof your home
Heavy rainstorms can cause flooding, which can lead to all sorts of devastation and losses. Whether or not you live in a floodplain, make sure your home is covered with Rural Mutual’s Limited Water Endorsement if you qualify. This offering is specifically designed to protect homes, belongings and detached garages from the costs of water damage.
6. Inspect your sump pump
Before the highly anticipated spring showers are in full swing, check to make sure your sump pump is in proper working order. Having a battery backup sump pump installed is a key way to make sure your sump pump will continue to function and prevent drastic basement flooding if you lose power.
7. Have a storm safety plan in place
In case of a weather emergency, always have a safe location for your family to seek refuge, such as your basement, an interior room with no windows or a storm shelter. If your area is projected to be hit with violent weather that can potentially destroy buildings and homes – or worse – result in injuries or fatalities, consider evacuating the area entirely until you’re given the all-clear to return.
Keeping your family safe is a top priority for us at Rural Mutual. Having the right home insurance before storms hit can provide you with peace of mind and financial reassurance. To learn more ways to protect your home from storm damage, contact your local Rural Mutual agent.