When moving house, there are plenty of things you can plan for, like forgetting to load a box or two onto the moving truck, or the movers you hired showing up late. But one thing that can be hard to plan for is bad weather. This year, 2017, has been dealt a number of devastating storms, with hurricanes like Harvey, Irma and Nate. Violent and relentless storms like these can’t be foreseen months in advance when you are planning your big move. So how do you handle something as unexpected as the weather? Here are some tips on how to manage moving when disaster strikes:
Stay Calm. In the midst of an upcoming move, emotions and stress run high. Throw an approaching hurricane into the mix, chaos can quickly ensue. Will the storm really hit your town? Will your move be called off, and if so, then what? Questions like these are bound to zigzag through your head, causing a great deal of anxiety. The most important thing you can do at a time like this is to stay calm. It’s hard, we know! But keeping a clear head in an emergency is critical. With a widespread disaster, such as a hurricane, traveling your way, moving is simply not going to be an option. But remember, you are not alone. Other people’s moving plans aren’t working out as planned either, and putting your move on hold and ensuring your safety during the storm is the most important thing. Your move can always be postponed.
Communicate. As soon as you learn of an impending hurricane, it is important to contact your moving company and present and future landlords to discuss options. The sooner you contact your moving company, the bigger the chance they will be able to help you. For instance, if your move is planned during a slow season, they may be able to reschedule your move so you can get to your new home before the hurricane arrives. The same is true for contacting your landlord(s). The quicker you do it, the more likely they will be to help you, such as by giving you permission to move into your new home early. In all instances, having good and timely communication during an emergency is a must in order to receive the best possible outcome.
Check Insurance Coverage. An emergency situation, like a hurricane, means you are at risk for damages – to your property or personal belongings. Whether minimal or extensive, any damage you experience can be devastating. In this situation, insurance coverage is critical. You will want to contact your insurance company and make sure you are covered – especially if you have any items in storage or that are out of your control during the hurricane. Getting your insurance coverage squared away will help ensure your protection as well as give you peace of mind during the events to come.
Valuable Documents. Another thing to do when disaster coincides with your move is to create an emergency package for all your most valuable documents. Gather all critical documents – insurance policies, birth certificates, titles of ownership, passports, checkbooks, health cards, social security cards, etc. Having all of your most valuable documents together in one accessible location is the optimal solution to keep your most important information safe and protected.
Damage. A hurricane means heavy rain and violent winds – two things that can easily cause damage to your home. Whether you rent or own your home and property, it is important to take as many precautions as possible to protect it. The same is true even if you intend to find shelter elsewhere during the storm or are planning to move to a new place after the hurricane is over. To protect your home during a hurricane, here are some things you can do:
- Prepare the outside of your home. Move patio furniture, trash cans, grills, toys, potted plants, etc. inside if possible. Check nearby trees for dead or loose branches that could fall during winds; remove them if able.
- Lock all windows and doors to prevent them from flying open in strong winds.
- Board up windows and doors or install storm shutters if not already present. (If renting, get permission in writing first.)
- Check the roof to ensure it is secured and sealed.
- Check your garage door. If extra susceptible to high winds, reinforce it with a brace kit.
- Know your flood risk. Move as many items as possible to a higher floor or off the ground. Elevate appliances on concrete blocks. Turn off electricity to affected areas from the panel breaker.
Find more tips when moving during severe weather, click here.