Stormy weather can pose a threat to your home no matter where you live. High winds, lightning, heavy rain, and hail can leave costly damages in their wake.

As spring storms make their way across the country, preparation is key to reducing the potential for property losses. We’ve partnered with the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) to share the most up-to-date recommendations on what you can do before, during, and after a storm. 

Before a storm: Five DIY preparation activities to do right now

  1. Look for weak points around your home. Take a walk around the outside of your home and make note of any potential problem areas, such as damaged shingles, loose gutters, or branches hanging over your roof. Make a list and schedule repairs.
  2. Inventory your possessions. Use your smartphone to photograph and document belongings. Keep an updated list to reference in the event of a loss.
  3. Add head protection to your storm kit. Your kit should include medications, batteries, first aid, a weather radio, and, according to new guidance from IBHS, head protection such as bike helmets or even pillows that can protect you from flying debris.
  4. Review your insurance. Speak with your insurance agent to check that your policy is current and includes coverage for storms you are most likely to experience in your area. Consider adding Nationwide’s Better Roof Replacement to your coverage for help building a stronger, safer roof after a covered loss. 
  5. Familiarize yourself with FORTIFIED HomeTM. FORTIFIED Home is a voluntary construction and re-roofing program designed to strengthen structures against storm forces, as this video shows.

During a storm: Follow these directions to stay safe during spring squalls

Here’s what to do when spring weather starts to sour.

Close your windows and doors. A sealed home is a safe home. Close doors and windows to protect the structural integrity of the building envelope (roof, windows, walls, and doors) against strong winds. This helps compartmentalize any pressure forces should a window or exterior door take damage. 

Shut the garage door. Did you know the garage door is one of the most vulnerable parts of a house in high winds? Keep it closed during thunderstorms and tornadoes to minimize the pressures that can cause roofs and exterior walls to be damaged. See what happens when garage doors fail in high winds.

Keep your phone’s emergency alerts on. Make sure emergency alerts are enabled on your smartphone, even at night. Your phone is a more reliable way to follow ongoing storm developments. 

For additional guidance on what to do when a storm is on the horizon, check out our storm preparedness infographic for more details and recommendations.

After a storm: Renovations to minimize future weather effects

Once a storm has passed, survey any damage and make plans for repairs. If renovations are needed, consider integrating IBHS’s FORTIFIED Home standards into the project. These standards can also be followed for any planned renovation or addition.

The program provides construction guidance, including how to:

Enhance roof performance – Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against rain. The program shares how to improve roof performance in three steps—nail it down, seal it up, and lock it in—while also providing guidance on impact-resistant shingles for hail-prone areas.

Strengthen openings and attached structures – Another element of FORTIFIED Home addresses properly anchoring attached structures—such as chimneys and carports—to the home, as well as advice for bracing these areas, strengthening windows and securing the garage.

Improve your home’s load path – FORTIFIED Home offers recommendations to improve the home’s load path (the structure behind how a building distributes stress forces), detailing how best to anchor the roof to the walls and the walls to the foundation so that the home can better resist strong winds.

You don’t have to be an expert on construction to use FORTIFIED Home. The program includes third-party verification to ensure you’re benefiting from added protection. You may also be eligible for mitigation incentives and even increase your home’s value once certified as a FORTIFIED Home. 

So, if you’re planning future renovations, speak with your contractors about following FORTIFIED Home guidelines.

The best time to prepare for spring storms is today

Awareness and preparation go hand in hand when it comes to protecting your home. Tips like these and others found in our storm preparedness infographic can be implemented at any time and leave you better prepared for inclement weather.

At Nationwide, we’re dedicated to helping you protect what you treasure most. For more information on protecting your home from the forces of nature, explore the Nationwide Learning Center.

The information included is designed for informational purposes only. It is not legal, tax, financial or any other sort of advice, nor is it a substitute for such advice. The information may not apply to your specific situation. We have tried to make sure the information is accurate, but it could be outdated or even inaccurate in parts. It is the reader’s responsibility to comply with any applicable local, state, or federal regulations. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, its affiliates and their employees make no warranties about the information nor guarantee of results, and they assume no liability in connection with the information provided. Nationwide, Nationwide is on your side, and the Nationwide N and Eagle are services marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. 2022 Nationwide.