As if living through a pandemic weren’t tough enough, now we’re headed into the middle of hurricane season. Hurricanes can wreak havoc on property, so it’s important to assess the risk if you’re buying in a hurricane-prone area. Have you found a home you love that’s in an area that experiences hurricanes and flooding? Then here are the questions you need to ask yourself.
First of all, let’s define what a hurricane zone is. A hurricane zone is an area where hurricanes most often make landfall. Millions of homes in America are located in hurricane zones, especially those along the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricanes are most likely to happen between June 1 and November 30 each year and have wind speeds between 74 to 157 mph.
Wind damage is one of the most common kinds of damage that a hurricane will cause, especially to the roof. But hurricanes also cause storm surge where water rises to an abnormal level causing flood damage. They can also cause downed trees and power lines that can damage a home’s structure.
Some types of homes are better at withstanding hurricanes and floods than others. Homes designed with a dome shape tend to fare better against wind damage. In addition, homes that are built on stilts will be better prepared for the storm surge.
Where you live within a hurricane zone can have a drastic effect on how much you pay for homeowners insurance. In some cases, you may even need a different policy to cover losses from the wind. Call around to get quotes from different companies for homes you’re interested in. You will find that those homes closer to the water or flood zones will have higher premiums. You can save money on your insurance costs by buying just outside of this zone.
Flood insurance is not included with a typical homeowners insurance policy. Flood damage can be extremely costly. The only way to be protected from those expenses is to purchase flood insurance. In fact, if the property is located within a flood zone, you may be required to carry flood insurance.
It’s also important to find out when the home was built. In many hurricane zones, building codes have gotten stricter over the years to help protect homeowners from damage. But if the home is older, it may not be up to code. Your home inspector can tell you whether or not the home meets current building standards.
Finally, having all the proper equipment to mitigate damage during a hurricane is extremely important for homeowners. This could include installing impact windows, storm shutters, and a garage door brace. Some of these safety upgrades can be costly, so factor this into your budget when making an offer. Be aware you may also qualify for discounts on your insurance if you implement these safety upgrades.
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