It’s that time of year again – hurricane season. For property managers, this can be a particularly nerve-wracking time filled with worry over whether your properties will make it through without any costly damages. Taking proactive measures to prepare your properties can help protect the owners’ investment and keep residents and their belongings safe and sound. If any of the properties you manage happen to be located in an area where hurricanes may occur, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Protecting Your Properties Year-Round
When it comes to avoiding storm damage, a little prevention can go a long way. Before that nasty forecast presents itself, take some time to go over the insurance coverage you have on your property. Specifically, verify whether the existing policy covers damages incurred due to weather. Furthermore, most regular property insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. As such, it might be a wise decision to purchase a separate policy for that. If coverage additions or updates are needed, the time to do so is now, before potential disaster strikes.
You may also wish to suggest (or even require) that residents purchase their own insurance policies because in most instances, property insurance doesn’t cover personal belongings.
Getting Ready for a Storm
In the wake of an impending storm, property managers should take swift action to prepare the property and protect it against the heavy rains and strong winds that are expected. To prevent broken glass, use wood to board up windows. Put away patio furniture or ensure that it is safely secured to prevent it from being launched by a strong gust of wind.
For single family homes, roofs should be reinforced through the use of hurricane straps. Additionally, bolts on exterior doors should also be reinforced. Gutters should be clean and free of any leaves or debris to ensure proper draining and prevent potential water damage to the property. If you don’t have the time or ability to handle these preparations yourself, hire a professional who can.
Finally, keep track of the storm by following reputable sources, such as the NOAA and the National Hurricane Center.
Once the storm has ended and officials have given the green light to safely assess the aftermath, take your time and survey the property carefully. It’s wise to take pictures of everything prior to cleaning up or initiating any necessary repairs, as this documentation could be crucial in proving any insurance claims you may file. Contact your insurance agent to determine what your next steps should be. Keep in mind that owners and property managers all over the area will also be calling their insurers, so be patient.
Work with residents to arrange access to the property so that you can properly assess any damages and coordinate repairs if necessary. As soon as you’ve documented the damage and touched base with the insurance company, take action as quickly as possible to rectify the situation and prevent further property damage.
Bear in mind that natural disasters like hurricanes can be a traumatic experience for those involved. In the days and weeks that follow after the storm, stay in communication with residents and let them know you’re working hard to get things back to normal. By offering your support, not only will it be easier to coordinate post-storm repairs, but you’ll also gain their trust in the process.