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shutterstock_135278885-2June marked the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, but with 10 of the costliest hurricanes on record arriving between August and October, now is the time to prepare for the worst by doing your best to protect your property.

Some of the most important actions home and business owners can take are trimming trees surrounding their properties and ensuring that any furniture and lightweight yard structures and decorations are secure.

The Weather Channel reports that the number of hurricanes and tropical storms begins to rise slowly through June and July but then shoots up in August, peaking in September, slowing in October, and then returning to normal levels through October and November. But there are no concrete assurances when one of these great natural disasters will arrive. Among the biggest hurricanes the United States has experienced, Katrina, Irene and Andrew all arrived in August, Ike was in September and Sandy hit in October.

To prepare for these events, owners can take some straightforward precautionary steps to help protect their investments.

Trim nearby trees of their low-hanging or weak branches to prevent them from being torn off in a storm and thrown into homes and businesses. Try to keep branches from growing longer than five feet. Remove branches that are hanging over the edifice that could fall onto a roof during a storm. Remove leaves, sticks or other debris that easily be blown around from yards, driveways or parking lots, including gravel or other rocks used in walkways or flowerbeds. Also, arrange with the local municipal authorities or a contractor to have tree limbs trimmed away from nearby power lines.

It may also be wise to consult an arborist or tree doctor about the roots of nearby trees, as the large amounts of rain that accompany hurricanes can loosen roots and possibly cause trees to fall into homes or businesses.

Items kept outside a structure should also be considered. Remove and store lawn furniture and place garbage cans and potted plants in a safe area out of reach of hurricane winds, such as in a garage or basement. Sections of fences or swinging fence doors should be secured.

As a leading provider of personal and commercial insurance coverage in Rhode Island, OceanPoint wants our clients to understand the risks of hurricanes and take the right precautions so that unexpected claims do not become necessary following heavy storms.

OceanPoint Insurance Agency is committed to providing clients with the best possible solutions to obtain protection and peace of mind. To learn more about how to protect your property during hurricane season, call us at 847.5200.

During hurricane season there is always a chance we could experience numerous storms, several of which may have the potential to become major hurricanes. It is crucial that you are prepared for whatever may happen.

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There is a special importance placed on hurricane preparedness for boat owners. To help ensure you take the necessary precautions, we offer a few helpful tips for how to prepare your boat in the event of a hurricane.

  • Have a plan of action in advance.
    • Boats remaining in a marina: Double all lines and attach them high on the strongest and tallest pilings, to allow for tidal rise. Make sure lines will not slip off pilings and that they are installed properly.
    • Boats remaining on a mooring: The mooring must be designed and maintained to withstand the weight of your boat (contact your marina to determine the maximum load their mooring will withstand and how that relates to a Category 3 storm). Inspect and service the chain and swivels that connect the mooring buoy annually.
    • Boats that can be  trailered: Haul your boat out of the water and move it to a safe location as far from tidal waters as possible.
    • Be aware of your lease or storage rental agreement with the marina or storage facility and know your responsibilities and liabilities as well as those of the marina.
    • Fully charge the boat’s batteries, and have backup batteries.
    • Shut off all devices consuming electricity except bilge pumps, and disconnect shore power cables.

When a hurricane is coming, after you have made anchoring or mooring provisions:

  • Remove anything portable such as sails, dinghies, electronics, cushions, etc. and securely tie down anything that cannot be removed.
  • Keep a list of everything left on the boat and what was removed.
  • Have all records including insurance policies, a recent photo of your boat, boat registration, equipment inventory, and the lease agreement with the marina or storage facility, together in one place.
  • Make sure you know the telephone numbers of appropriate authorities, such as the U.S. Coast Guard, Harbor Master, National Weather Service, and your insurance agent, and keep them on hand.
  • Do not stay aboard.

After the hurricane has passed.

  • Be aware of possible downed electrical wires. There may be stray AC current from submerged outlets, shore cords in the water, damaged vessel systems, etc. Do not enter the water!
  • Check for leaking natural gas and propane by smell only, not with matches or candles!

The most important things to do to protect your boat from hurricanes or any severe storms are planning, preparation and timely action. It is also critical that you have the proper insurance coverage in place, and fully understand your policy. Call your OceanPoint Insurance agent today, to ensure you are fully aware of what is covered under your policy, and we’d be happy to give you a complimentary policy review.