As hurricane season approaches, Louisiana’s insurance commissioner is suggesting three ways you can protect your home from damage, and maybe save some money.
“With the type of severe weather events we’ve seen over the last few months, protecting our families and properties is something weighing heavily on the people of this state,” Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said in a news release. “If folks are rebuilding or just doing some home improvement this year, I encourage them to keep storm mitigation efforts at the top of their lists.”
Donelon and the Louisiana Department of Insurance offers these three tips:
Consider storm projects that strengthen your home against wind damage or protect against flooding. Talk with your insurance company about discounts on your bill that might be available after you have done specific hurricane-protection work. Projects such as roof bracing, secondary water barriers and window, door and skylight strength can increase the structural integrity of a home and, if performed to certain standards, may be eligible for a discount on your insurance costs. Discounts apply to one or two-family owner occupied homes and modular homes. They vary by company and location, with a more significant discount in coastal than non-coastal areas.
Install storm shutters. Purchases of storm shutter devices for hurricane protection are excluded from local sales taxes.
Retrofit your existing home and receive tax deductions for up to 50 percent of the cost incurred. The retrofitting deduction is available to taxpayers who have brought a property into compliance with the State Uniform Construction Code and claimed a homestead exemption. It is not available for rental properties.
Your insurer may determine other building improvements will reduce the risk of loss due to wind. For information on the types of improvements and properties that qualify, visit the state Insurance Department’s Residential Property Storm Mitigation Incentives web page at ldi.la.gov/stormmitigation or talk with your insurance agent.
So far, at least two weather agencies have predicted a below-average hurricane season, which runs June 1 through Nov. 30. Earlier this month, Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project forecast 11 named storms along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, including two major hurricanes. At least four of those storms will reach hurricane strength, with sustained winds of at least 74 mph. And at least two of those will be Category 3, with winds of 111-129 mph, or stronger, the team said. The commercial weather agency Accuweather issued a similar forecast a few days earlier.
A typical year, based on records dating back to 1966, brings 12 tropical storms. Of those, six are hurricanes and two are Category 3 or greater, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. About two hurricanes hit the US during a typical season.