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Tree Trimming: Preparing the Yard for Severe Weather

Almost every area of the United States is prone to some sort of severe weather. Eastern and southern coastal states face hurricane season, complete with superstorms like Sandy that killed at least 147 people and caused power outages for over 7.9 million buildings in 2012. Tornado Alley—comprised of middle states like Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma—averages over 1,000 tornados per year. Western coastal states may experience mudslides thanks to their geography. Midwestern states are no strangers to summer thunderstorms and winter blizzards that routinely cause property damage and injury.

Protecting your property is two-fold. Use CoverHound’s homeowners insurance calculator to find protection that meets your needs and budgetary requirements, and make these storm preparation tips part of your seasonal to-do list.

Double Check Your Home’s Exterior

A downpour might prompt you to wonder if you left your windows open, but a storm can be more serious than a wet car seat or a damp windowsill. Check the exterior of your home long before severe weather hits to prevent emergency or long-term damage to your home. Some areas to consider:

Gutters. Gutters clogged with leaves, twigs and other debris can cause leakage during a storm that damages the exterior or interior of your home. Before a storm, make sure your gutters are securely fastened to cut down on the likelihood of the wind tearing them free.

Roof. Severe weather is not the time to discover your roof leaks. Houspect recommends finding and replacing damaged tiles and poorly sealed joints as soon as possible. Not only can a weak roof allow water seepage into your home, but it can even lead to a dangerous collapse.

Trim Trees for Safety

Trees that look lovely and provide shade can become a nightmare during a severe weather storm. Although lush, natural-looking trees are easy on the eyes, homeowners should be aware of the risks associated with neglecting to trim foliage before storm season. As the Dallas News reports, “Trees with heavy branching throughout the canopy trap more ice and snow during winter storms. They also catch more wind when in leaf, much like a boat's sail, during high winds in spring. Both these factors lead to breakage.”

It’s worthwhile to consult with a qualified arborist every so often to assess your situation. Using a saw and dealing with heavy falling objects is no walk in the park, so exercise extreme caution and rely on the expertise of experienced professionals. Make sure to think about whether your trees are primed to send a limb flying through your living room window or fall on your garage well before actual storm season.

Secure or Store Freestanding Items

All the little touches that make your yard functional and fun can become a liability during a storm, especially when gusting wind is involved. The garden columnist for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans suggests making a mental list of everything that would need to be moved before a storm, including “container plants, hanging baskets, tools, lawn furniture, garden art, compost bins, swing sets, toys, bicycles, bird feeders, wind chimes, barbecue pits, trash cans, playhouses and doghouses.” Anything that could blow into your house and cause damage needs to be safely tethered down or stored inside ahead of time.

Some natural disasters are covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy, while others require a policy extension. Even with diligent preparation, it’s impossible to predict exactly what havoc severe weather may inflict on your home. Explore coverage options using CoverHound’s homeowners insurance calculator for backup protection today!

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