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Prepare Your Home Annually before Hurricane Season

The Atlantic hurricane season runs June 1 through November 30. A combination of winds, wind-driven rain, surge, and power outages from a hurricane can cause damage to your home.

Start Annual Home Prep!

Every year, use these steps to prepare your home ahead of hurricane season to help reduce potential property damage. These annual maintenance activities will help you be Hurricane Ready!

Home Hurricane Prep & Upgrades
Annual maintenance tips and upgrades to protect your home.


1. Create an emergency hurricane plan for your family and home.

Having a hurricane plan helps ensure the safety of you and your family. A plan enables you to make time-sensitive decisions, communicate clearly, and safeguard important documents. Plan now to protect your loved ones and your home.  

  • Compile a list of emergency contacts, including fire, police, family, neighbors, friends, tree services, utility companies, and your insurance agent. 
  • Create a communications plan for your family before, during, and after a hurricane. 
    • Choose someone outside the danger zone as the central contact.  
    • Use text messages during the storm. 
    • Communicate through the social media if calls or texts won’t go through.  
    • Stay with family and friends in case of communication outages.  
  • Decide on locations where you will meet in case an evacuation order is announced: 
    • Outside your neighborhood or city in case you cannot return home. 
  • Prepare an emergency supply kit.  
  • Practice the plan with your family. 
Shot a young couple looking at a check list while having breakfast

2) Stay informed. Set up 3 ways to get reliable weather information and alerts.

A hurricane can knock out power and disrupt communications. Having multiple ways to receive alerts helps keep you informed throughout the storm. 

  • Find a reliable source for hurricane updates. Pay attention to hurricane forecasts from the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Follow the NHC on Facebook or X and tune in to local news often. For impacts to your local area, follow your local National Weather Service (NWS) office. 
  • Purchase a NOAA weather radio, preferably one with a hand crank.  
  • Enable wireless emergency alerts on your cell phone. Check your wireless service provider’s website to find out how to do this for your specific phone type. 

Note: Geographical maps are used to communicate critical weather information. Know where you are on a map and know your county name. 

2- 3 Ways Warnings

3) Review your insurance coverage and document belongings.

If your home is damaged due to a hurricane and you need to file a claim, you will likely have to itemize losses for your insurance company. Documenting your belongings is easier before a disaster happens.

  • Know what your insurance covers and what it doesn’t. 
  • Keep your insurance agent’s contact information in your phone and accessible offsite. 
  • Create a home inventory video.
    • Complete a home inventory list. Use your cell phone to video belongings in each room of your house. Be sure to open cabinets and closets! 
    • Store your home inventory in the cloud. Learn more about  how to create a home inventory. 
3 - Review Insurance

4) Inspect and repair your roof.

A roof in need of repair is more vulnerable to high winds and can worsen in hurricane. Water leaking into your home can cause a cascade of water and mold damage to your roof, ceilings, walls, floors, and belongings!  

  • Have your roof inspected by a trusted and licensed roofing company who will look for the following: 
    • Roof cover condition 
      • Asphalt shingles: look for curling, loose (unsealed), missing and/or torn shingles.   
      • Clay, concrete, and slate tiles: look for cracked, missing, and/or unattached tiles.   
      • Metal panels: look for dents/divots, loose screws, deteriorated rubber washers, discolored or worn off paint (which acts as an anti-rust layer), and/or signs of rusting. 
    • Vents, skylights & chimneys 
      • Vents: look for loose seals. 
      • Skylights: look for leaking, loose, or wavy flashing, cracks, and/or damage to the window around the skylights. 
      • Chimneys: look for leaking around the flashing and/or missing mortar. 
    • Roof valleys/seams: look for leaking from roof valleys or seams that are under your roof cover material.  
Man caulking ridge vent on new addition

5) Secure soffits.

Wind-driven rain can enter homes through unsecured soffits.  

  • Install stainless steel screws through fascia and channels so they connect the soffit material. Apply polyurethane sealant over screws and let dry for 72 hours. 
Roof showing gutters and soffit on the back of a brick house.

6) Check & clear your gutters and downspouts.

Water that does not properly drain off the roof and away from your home can leak into your home or seep into the basement. Clogged gutters can back up and allow water to damage roof decking and fascia.  

  • Inspect gutters and downspouts to ensure they’re secured to the house by gutter straps. 
  • Clean all gutters, downspouts, and drains so they are free of tree debris. 
  • Ensure downspouts divert water at least 3 feet away from the foundation. 
6- Gutters

7) Seal gaps and cracks on your home’s exterior.

Hurricanes can produce wind-driven rain, and any unsealed opening can allow water and wind to enter your home. 

  • Caulk and seal any cracks or gaps on your home’s exterior using a tube of silicone caulk. 
  • Add weatherstripping as needed to seal around doors and windows, making sure you cannot see any daylight from inside your home.  
Repairman hand installing the windows with gun silicone. closeup

8) Service your garage door.

During a hurricane, garage doors are susceptible to high winds that can push them inward, allowing wind inside your home. Once wind is inside the home, it can push out on the walls and up on the roof, leading to more significant structural damage.  

  • Service your garage door annually.  
  • If a new door is recommended when you have it serviced, check out the home upgrades page to know what to look for in purchasing a new wind-rated garage door. 
Interior of a clean garage in a house

9) Trim trees and tidy your yard.

During periods of high winds, trees with branches near or overhanging your home can damage the roof cover, siding, and windows. Outdoor play equipment and other items can become flying debris.  

  • Keep all tree limbs trimmed and away from your house. Hire an arborist to remove branches that overhang the house and remove any dead, dying, or diseased trees. 
  • Anchor any outdoor play equipment to the ground. Keep ladders and other large items that are not used daily in a shed or garage.  
Arborist cutting branches with chainsaw. Action shot, visible saw dust.

10) Service your generator.

The time to maintain a generator is well before a landfalling hurricane that may knock out power (when professional assistance may be unavailable, power lines are down, and access roads are blocked).


  • Set up a proper maintenance plan that includes weekly, monthly, and annual checks. See the manufacturer’s specifications for more information.   
  • Run the unit on its maintenance plan to ensure it is properly functioning in case of an emergency. Individual units may have a timer that allows a programmed test to be scheduled.  
  • Check the generator enclosure for loose debris or other conditions that could cause the unit to not function properly.   


  • Ensure you store the unit in a dry location.  
  • Set up a maintenance schedule for your specific model by checking the owner’s manual, which should tell you: 
    • How often to check and change the oil. 
    • When to replace the spark plug and air filter, including when to clean the spark arrestor screen. 
    • How often to conduct periodic test runs for the unit. 
Gasoline Portable Generator on the House Construction Site. Close up on Mobile Backup Generator .Standby Generator - Outdoor Power Equipment

Annual Home Prep

"Beautiful, luxurious House with nice landscaping  in Florida"

These annual maintenance activities will help reduce potential property damage. 

Home Upgrades

0- Home Upgrades Header

If you’re renovating, re-roofing, or building new, consider these upgrades to make your home stronger against hurricanes. 

Crucial Steps Before a Hurricane

Storm clouds roll in from behind a house that gleams with late afternoon sunshine on Barbados.

When a storm appears to be approaching landfall, follow these last-minute steps to help reduce damage to your home. 

After a Damaging Hurricane

Home destroyed on FMB

These steps will guide you through the process to recover quickly.