The 2017 hurricane season won’t end until November 30th, and already it’s one of the most brutal on record. The summer brought thirteen hurricanes in the Atlantic, including five classified as a Category 3 or higher. The destruction wrought by these storms has cost the United States alone more than 100 lives and $200 billion in damages.
These storms are a reminder to property owners everywhere – including in Ohio – to be prepared for natural emergencies well before they strike. Every U.S. state is prone to different disasters. In Ohio, the notable weather risks are flood, hail, tornadoes, thunderstorms, severe winter weather, and extreme heat.
Ohio may be relatively calmer and safer when compared to other states: three cities in Ohio – Cleveland, Dayton, and Akron – rank in the top 10 U.S. cities least likely to be destroyed by natural disaster. However, that doesn’t mean these weather risks don’t cause significant and costly damage for Ohio property owners. In 2016 alone, tornadoes and thunderstorms in Ohio caused more than $106 million in insured losses from wind, hail, and other damage.
This year, weather forecasters expect we’ll see a harshly cold and snowy winter, especially in Cleveland and other areas prone to lake-effect snow.
The time to prepare your home or commercial property for disaster is before disaster strikes. At a minimum, make sure you have secured your Ohio property against these natural emergencies:
- Winter freeze: Freezing temperatures can cause pipes to burst and create ice dams in roofs and walls. Protect your property by insulating exterior walls, draining the lines and shutting off water to outdoor faucets, cleaning out gutters before snowfall to prevent ice formation, and keeping the thermostat no lower than 55° F at all times.
- Lightning: Use surge protection devices to protect appliances in case of an electrical surge. To protect your entire property, consider having a whole house surge protection system installed on your electrical meter.
- Tornadoes: Ohio experiences an average of 16 tornadoes each year. Installing impact-resistant windows, doors, and garage doors can add protection from high winds and debris.
- Hailstorms: Hail damage is more severe depending on the angle of your roof and the age and condition of the roof covering. Insurance policies may not provide full replacement for roofs more than 20 years old that fail to pass inspection. When it’s time to replace your roof, consider impact-resistant roof shingles or tiles. For a second layer of protection, install plywood roof decking that is 5/8″ thick and make sure existing decking is properly nailed to the roof framing.
Be prepared for Ohio storms and emergencies, but remember that nature can overpower even the best attempts at disaster prevention. If severe weather causes damage to your property, rely on a licensed public adjuster to help you interpret your insurance policy, expedite the claims process, and get what you are owed from the insurance company.