Categories: Home Owners Insurance

Raise the Value of Your Home by Investing in Storm Prep

Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma caused unprecedented damage and power loss to huge parts of the United States in 2017. If your home is on the market in a storm-battered area such as Tornado Alley or hurricane-prone areas, consider making some storm-worthy upgrades that will make your home more appealing when you list it for sale.

In states like Oklahoma, new homes are built to withstand three-second wind gusts up to 90 mph, while hurricane-susceptible coastal houses are built to withstand three-second gusts up to 120 mph. Builders estimate that the cost of adding a high-wind option to a new build would run about 75 cents to $1 per square foot.

Even if you’re not in the normal path of catastrophic storms, the winds from big weather events can still cause sizeable damage. Adding storm safeguards to your home will protect it from damage and make your house stand out in a crowded market. Your home insurance company may even offer discounts for houses proven to withstand storm damage.

The most common weather protection includes strengthening your home’s ability to withstand gale-force winds. Storm shutters and hurricane doors and windows are designed to help your home weather heavy storms. Installing higher-gauge garage doors braced by thicker struts will shield your belongings from rain and can stand up to higher wind gusts than traditional doors.

Reinforce shingles and siding
If you’re anticipating having to add a new roof, consider high-impact roofing shingles. The additional project cost will likely be around 5-10% of the total. Otherwise, homeowners can reinforce shingles and siding by adding 10-pennyweight ring shank nails, which have threaded rings around the shafts to provide greater hold. Intact shingles and siding can keep you from suffering costly water damage in a big storm.

Seal out water
If you lose shingles or the roofing materials are damaged by storm winds, water can seep in the joints of the roof deck. Have a roof repair contractor add flashing tape or peel-and-seal around the joints of the roof deck to create an extra layer of protection against water damage.

Tie down the roof
Strong winds create an effect called uplift, which can lift the entire roof off of a home. Minimize the uplift risk by reinforcing the connection between the roof and the house frame with special steel clips. The clips fasten onto rafters and trusses to protect the roof from separating from the main frame. You must also complete all roofing repairs before the storm hits your property to minimize the risks of extensive damages.

Many homeowners have portable generators in case of power outage. The upgrade that sets your house apart from others is electrician-installed hookups from your gasoline-powered portable generator to your home’s electrical system. This simple $1,000 upgrade will keep the appliances, heater, water pumps and other essential equipment running during a power outage. You’ll be able to take the generator with you when you move, and the hookups will be a powerful selling point for new buyers.

If you live somewhere with frequent power outages, upgrade to a standby unit to power the whole home. These units are a more significant investment of around $10,000 but will provide whole-house power for prolonged periods without interruption. You can have it installed by an electrical company that ranked as a top Home Generator services.

Available incentives
Wind-resistant upgrades can qualify for a special type of financing called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE). If approved, the government pays for the upfront costs of an improvement which the homeowner repays as part of the property tax bill within 10-20 years. Investing in storm-proof features will ideally minimize weather damage and the cost of repairs.

Jamie Richardson

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