On October 1, 2018, Sawgrass Mutual Insurance Company (“SMIC”) was ordered liquidated by the Second Judicial Circuit Court in Leon County, Florida. The Florida Department of Financial Services (“Department”) is the court appointed Receiver of SMIC.  Please continue to report all new claims in accordance with the company’s normal claims filling procedures until instructed differently. More information is available on the Department’s website here.


Tips to Secure Your Home for a Hurricane

You can protect your home against hurricane winds, rain, flooding and wayward objects flying through the air by taking a few simple precautions. Abide by the advice outlined below and you will drastically increase the odds of your home emerging from a nasty hurricane with little-to-no damage. Without further adieu, here are the best ways to safeguard your living space from a looming hurricane.

Mind the Roof

Add hurricane straps to your home's roof to ensure that it is firmly bolted to the frame. Take some time to analyze the integrity of your roof's shingles/tiles to ensure they are fully secure. If you spot any loose tiles, apply roofing cement so they don't dislodge when the winds pick up. Pinpoint areas where wires enter the home and seal them so the hurricane's heavy rain does not result in water damage. 

Reinforce the Garage Door

Your home's garage door is highly susceptible to damage from a hurricane's strong wind and precipitation. The typical home's garage door is not reinforced. Once a hurricane's wind reaches your garage, it generates a push while additional wind swirls above the structure. This combination of pressure has the potential to yank the roof right off. Be proactive by bracing your garage door with a reinforcement kit available at your local home improvement store.

Secure the Doors and Windows

If your windows break during the storm, rain, wind and even some objects will end up inside your home. Wind that blows into a home has the potential to heighten the pressure to the point that it weakens the roof. Invest in storm shutters for protection. You can also board up your windows when the storm is on its way. If your home's doors do not have numerous locking mechanisms, install some to ensure that the doors do not fly open. Deadbolts are the strongest means of reinforcing doors.

Power Up

There is a good chance that the hurricane will cause your power to shut off. Invest in a generator to ensure that your home remains powered during and after the storm. Even a fairly small generator that keeps the home's essentials powered up will help you bounce back after the storm has passed.

Remove Furniture and Debris From Your Yard and Landscaping

Collect all debris, loose items and patio furniture from your yard and landscaping before the storm hits. These items will inevitably be blown around by the hurricane's strong wind and possibly end up smashing directly into your home.

Give Those Trees a Trimming

If you have any overgrown trees on your property, trim them so they do not damage your home once the hurricane hits. If you notice any dead areas of the trees, eliminate them. When in doubt, cut extending limbs as they can easily land on your home after breaking amidst a hurricane's strong wind. If such broken wayward branches damage your home or another person's home, insurance will likely pay for damages yet the full cost of the tree removal might not be covered.

Ensure Proper Water Flow

Inspect your home's downspouts and gutters. Make sure objects are not lodged in these spaces. Water should be able to flow through the gutters and downspouts with ease during a hurricane's wrath. If the water can't flow down and away from your home, it will end up damaging the gutters, attic or roof.

Prepare the Basement/Crawl Space

If your home has a basement or crawl space, it should have more than a bare bones drainage system. Install a sump pump along with a couple drain tile layers and a battery backup. You can reduce the odds of water damage to your basement even further by backing up your sump pump with emergency power.