Powerful winds and heavy rains from hurricanes threaten homes along the coast and can inflict costly damage even hundreds of miles inland. Prepare for hurricane season before a storm by using these 7 seven tips to protect your home against hurricane damage.

1. Prepare for Hurricane Season With Insurance

Homeowners are often surprised to learn that their insurance policy doesn’t cover flooding. Add flood damage coverage, especially if you live in a flood-prone area.

Check to see if your neighborhood qualifies for the National Flood Insurance Program for government-backed coverage. Put your policy documents in a safe, accessible place and take inventory of your possessions. Record the estimated value of expensive items. Take photos or videos and save them online.

2. Inspect Your Roof

Make sure your roofing is in good condition well before hurricane season. Use binoculars from the ground or climb a ladder if you can do so safely. Replace any broken, loose, or missing tiles or shingles. Hurricane straps or clips fastening your roof to the frame of the house can reduce roof damage in high winds.

3. Check and Clean Your Gutters to Prepare for Hurricane Season

Gutters direct water away from your home. Prepare for hurricane season by clearing them of debris. Clean gutters keep water from pooling around your foundation and help protect your siding from water damage. If you can’t do the job yourself, hire a professional. You may also hire a Soft Story Retrofit specialist to check your home’s foundation. Check to make sure the gutter system is securely attached to the home and working properly. Make any needed repairs before a storm arrives and get a gutter guard installation done for additional protection.

4. Preparing for Hurricane Season by Protecting Doors and Windows

Although adding storm windows can be expensive, they are well worth the price tag. You can also purchase storm shutters made of aluminum or steel and install them yourself. This job requires time, so don’t wait until the last minute.

If you get caught by an approaching storm, sheets of plywood nailed over windows work in a hurry. Protect entry doors from high winds with head and foot bolts. Since wind-driven rain can cause moisture damage inside, reinforce caulk around doors and windows.

5. Use Sandbags for Flooding

Flooding almost always occurs when a hurricane hits. Sandbags won’t prevent flood damage completely, but they will help keep water out. Prepare for hurricane season by purchasing sandbags from your local home improvement store or make them yourself with builders sand and plastic bags.

6. Prepare the Outside of Your Home for a Hurricane

Outdoor furniture, grills, tools, playsets, and dog houses can become projectiles in high winds. Anything that cannot be moved inside should be securely anchored to the ground. Make sure attached structures like carports, sheds, and entry canopies are firmly attached and structurally sound. Trim away any loose tree limbs that could blow off and damage your home. Well-pruned trees let wind pass through and minimize damage.

7. Get a Wind Mitigation Inspection

You can add features to your home to increase its resistance to high winds and benefit from insurance credits. Hire a wind mitigation inspector to advise you of any changes or additions that will reduce damage to your property and help keep you and your family safe.