phone pole that has been knocked down

It doesn’t have to be a tornado or hurricane. A strong, gale-force wind can whip up and pack plenty of punch – and it can blow large debris around, causing real danger to people and potential damage to property. Without proper wind protection, windborne debris can break unprotected windows and blow doors off their hinges. Also, once a forceful gale enters a structure, the home’s contents will be exposed to the elements.

If you live or are building a house in an area where damaging winds are common, we’ve got some wind protection suggestions to fortify your home against nature’s blusters.

Strong winds call for strong windows

If you’re building a home, avoid designs with large areas of glass, windows with multiple panels, and double-entry doors. And check local building codes for windborne debris protection requirements.

For an existing structure, your top priority is securing windows and other areas covered by glass. Your two best choices: permanent or temporary storm shutters.

Permanent shutters

  • Consider using permanent storm shutters if you live in an area where you will need to act quickly to protect your windows.
  • Usually made of aluminum or steel, permanent shutters provide the sturdiest protection.
  • They may be manually operated and motor-driven. If you buy motor-driven shutters, make sure they also can be operated manually if the power fails.
  • Look for models that meet the wind load and impact standards for your area. They’re available in a wide range of sizes, so you can use them to protect many types of openings.

Temporary shutters

  • Temporary plywood covers can be an economical alternative to permanent storm shutters.
  • Temporary covers can be installed pretty quickly if the necessary preparations are made first.
  • Plywood covers can also be used to protect sliding glass doors and French doors.
  • Don’t wait until there’s a hurricane or high wind warning to build your temporary covers. Make them during the “off season,” so you’ll be ready to install them at any time.
  • When storing the covers, use a numbering or lettering system to know which cover goes with which window. Store the mounting screws or lag bolts nearby.

More protection

Other ways to protect your home and the things in it from high-wind damage:

  • Reinforce your garage door. Because of the extreme tension in a garage door counterbalance system and the potential for additional wind impact, this is a job best left to a professional.
  • Remove or securely anchor any loose objects on your property that could be picked up and tossed by the wind. This includes trash cans, grills, and lawn or deck furniture.
  • Use the straps and ground anchors on manufactured homes to anchor outbuildings, especially small garden sheds that aren’t on a permanent foundation.
  • Remove large trees near your property that could topple into your home. Unless you’re a lumberjack, this is another job for a skilled contractor.

Talk to us

Even with the best preparation, you can still sustain damage from unexpected events like windstorms. Contact an agent today to protect your home with the right homeowners insurance for your needs.

Need to file a claim? Visit our claims center or call 1-800-421-3535.

Nationwide offers this information to help you make decisions that may help you mitigate your risk. Of course, we can't address every possible risk or guarantee these tips will work for you. However, we hope that you will consider which of these may help you in your efforts to protect your family and yourself.