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Remembering Irene…lessons learned

Sep 21 2012

Wayne Texeira  Marketing Director, CFMP, AINS, AIS, API

At this time last year, Hurricane Irene had just hammered the Northeast, and soon thereafter, the freak October snowstorm hit Massachusetts causing major damage with downed trees and extended power outages.

Before Irene hit, I was on vacation in Maine. I had to rush home early the morning the storm came ashore to secure everything. My home rode out the storm unscathed, but unfortunately, I hadn’t checked my generator. When the power went out, I tried starting it without success and had to endure five days without power. However, I still consider myself lucky given that so many people were without power for even longer, and it wasn’t winter when an extended power outage can cause frozen pipes.

The repair shop informed me that the generator wasn’t worth repairing. So, did I go and buy a new one immediately? NO. I procrastinated as many of us do. On the m0rning of the October storm, I ran around and managed to buy a generator at the last minute. I didn’t do all the research that I intended in order to find the best model and price, but, when the power went out and didn’t come on for four days, I was grateful to have power.

After the October storm, my yard looked like a bomb went off. Huge branches were down everywhere, and it took days and days to clean up. Again, nothing hit the house and no trees toppled, so I was lucky. When you work at an insurance agency, you see claims for trees hitting homes and cars, so I’m always aware that it could happen to me and realize that I’m fortunate especially after a major storm event.
We buy home insurance for situations like these storms and other catastrophes that cause damage that would be financially devastating without an insurance safety net.

Yet, even with when insured, it’s best to take precautions to avoid claims all together. It’s great knowing that if a tree lands on your home you’re covered, but it’s better to avoid having that tree land on your house all together. Avoidance and prevention are the best ways to manage risk with insurance as your backup. Do you have a maintenance/prevention list? If not then it’s something to spend some time planning.

My prevention planning this year involved cutting down eleven trees on my property. Some I could manage myself, but a few required hiring a tree service. Admittedly, it’s not cheap, but it’s better than having a hole in my roof that causes water damage or having a tree fall on the wires running from the electric pole to the house. I also turned over a new leaf and now start my generator every couple of months to keep it running smoothly. I don’t want any surprises such as a malfunction in the dead of winter.

Now that fall is here, it’s the perfect time to make sure your home is ready for the upcoming winter. I’m slowly checking off my fall “to do” list. If you’re looking for winter-proofing tips, check our article “Is your house properly winter-proofed? Good maintenance can prevent damage to your home.” Ready.gov is a great resource for disaster planning information, too.

Hopefully, we all learned some lessons from Hurricane Irene and the October storm. Next year, I still have a few trees to remove as well as a list of ongoing maintenance projects. As property owners, we’re all in the same boat, but as Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Total: 1 Comment(s)
Jennifer T.
  This article is very timely. We should all have a winter prep list and stick to it to help mitigate damage to our property. It is far too easy to become complacent. I do not have a generator at my house, and, living in Maine, it makes me nervous. It is something I definitely plan to get.
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