11 Ways to avoid hurricane damage

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), accurately predicted a record-breaking storm season for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. 14 of the 30 storms that occurred developed into hurricanes, including seven major hurricanes with winds in excess of 111 mph.

A hurricane’s powerful force can cause damage to a house and make it irreparable. But you can minimize the potential for damage, cut the cost of your home insurance now and save on repairs later with the help of many readily available home improvement products. It doesn’t need to cost a lot to prepare your home for whatever season brings.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), you should make your property more resistant to hurricanes. You should invest in storm shutters and a wind-rated garage doors to protect your home from wind damage. Triple-I recommends that your roof be inspected by a licensed and bonded contractor every year to ensure it is resistant to torrential rains and high winds.

These are 11 ways to protect your home from the effects of hurricane season.


One of the most common ways to prepare for a hurricane is with a sheet of plywood and a few nails. The homeowners “board up” their homes a few days before the storm hits and attach plywood of 5/8-inch to the windows. Plywood can reduce or prevent the damage caused by strong winds, heavy rains, hail, and other flying debris.

  • Cost: Although material costs can vary depending on where you live and what season it is, a sheet of plywood 5/8 inch in thickness typically costs between $20 and $30. Material costs can vary depending on the size of your home and how many windows you have. Plywood prices have increased dramatically in the United States during the pandemic. However, the market is beginning to stabilize.
  • Insurance: No effect
  • Pros: Plywood protects from flying debris well and is simple to make. The materials can be found at most home improvement stores. You can use the materials from one season to another if they are stored correctly.
  • Cons: Plywood can be tedious and time-consuming to install. This is why it may be necessary for homeowners with two-story houses. Drilling holes in bricks and siding may be required for installation. The home will become dark once the windows have been boarded.

Fabric panels

Panels made of polymer-based, high-strength fabric panels can be used to add a trampoline-like cushion for windows and doors. They repel flying debris and provide visibility during a storm. This can help reduce hurricane damage. Easy to install, panels are attached to windows and doors with grommets, wing nuts or clips and pins.

  • Cost: From $5 to $15 per square feet
  • Insurance: No effect
  • Pros: Panels can be easily installed and taken down, and then folded up and stored in a small space. Many panels are translucent, which allows for visibility through windows.
  • Cons: Professional installation is usually required.

Hurricane straps

The roof is meant to be held up in most homes. Builders install hurricane clips, anchor belts and hurricane straps to correct the upward and sideways lifting forces of hurricane winds. This can help protect a home’s roof and reduce the damage caused by a hurricane. Galvanized straps are attached securely to the foundation and walls of the house, keeping the roof in place.

  • Cost: Hurricane straps are cheap and can be purchased by the box or in coils for as low as 50 cents per piece. An average home might require hundreds of straps.
  • Insurance: This can result in significant savings, depending on the state regulations and your insurance company. To find out how this would affect specific insurance policies, please visit the Best Home Insurance Companies in 2021.
  • The pros: Hurricane straps significantly reduce the risk of roof collapse in high winds when properly installed on a new house. These straps are very easy to fit on new homes.
  • Cons: Retrofitting straps to an existing home can be time-consuming, expensive and difficult.

Flood barriers

There is not much homeowners can do to prepare for a hurricane’s 20 foot storm surge along the coast. However, there are many products that can protect residents in the inland from minor flooding. Although sandbags are the most affordable option, many cities and counties offer them for free. However, they can be heavy and require hundreds of bags to create a solid barrier around a house. You can also use portable walls, powder-filled flood barriers, water-filled tubes and expanding bags to protect your home in case of flooding.

  • Cost: Prices can vary from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars to completely cover a home depending on the product and level of protection.
  • Insurance: No effect
  • Pros: Barriers can be effective in keeping minor floodwaters out of your home. Some products can be installed quickly and easily before a storm.
  • Cons: Floodwaters can rise to the top of the barrier, making the products expensive and difficult to deploy.

Storm panels

One of the best ways for protecting your home from flying debris is to install aluminum shutters or corrugated steel shutters over your windows and doors. Storm panels come in different thicknesses and can be attached to windows exteriors using a system of tracks or bolts. The shutters can be quickly attached to the house when there are storms by installing tracks around it.

  • Cost: Steel or aluminum storm panels cost between $7 and $15 per foot.
  • Insurance: This can result in substantial savings, depending on the state regulations and your insurance company.
  • The panels can be used to protect against almost all flying debris. It can be quickly deployed before a storm, and quickly removed afterward.
  • Cons: Panels need a lot of storage space. They are not easy to install depending on how many stories you have and how large your windows are. Some shutters are sharpened.

Hurricane shutters that roll down

Roll-down hurricane shutters can be deployed before a storm with just a push of a button, or cranking of a handle. They are usually made from double-walled aluminum shutter slats, which interlock. The shutters roll up into a narrow box that rests above the window or doorway. They are available in a variety of sizes and colors.

  • Cost: Roll-down shutters are the simplest and most cost-effective way to protect your home. However, they can also be the most expensive, at $20 to $35 per square feet, according to NOAA.
  • Insurance can have a significant impact on your state, depending on the carrier.
  • Pros: Shutters can be raised or lowered easily. You can also use them to temporarily darken a space.
  • Cons: These systems are prohibitively expensive and require professional installation. For use in an outage, push-button systems will need to be powered off or have manual override.

Garage door braces

High wind can cause damage to your garage door. A garage door that fails can cause a hurricane to batter your roof and walls. Some garage doors can withstand winds up to 150 mph. However, older doors should be braced. The most common vertical bracing system is made from aluminum. It anchors above the garage door and the floor to provide additional support.

  • Cost: Prices vary by manufacturer and can range from $150 to $175 for a garage door brace.
  • Insurance discount: This is dependent on the state regulations and your insurance company.
  • Pros: Braces can be effective and are relatively affordable.
  • Cons: These tools may need special tools, such as a rotor-hammer or masonry bit to drill into concrete floors. Without removing the brace, the garage door can’t be opened.

Hurricane glass

You don’t have to deal with shutters and the closed-in feel they give off. Install hurricane-impact windows. The glass is typically 3/8 inches thick and has a film coating that’s similar to safety glass in car windshields. The glass will remain embedded in the frame even if the windows are broken or cracked.

  • Cost: Hurricane glass windows can be expensive, with prices up to $50 per square feet
  • Insurance discount: This is dependent on the state regulations and your insurance company.
  • The pros: Hurricane glass is easy to set up and take down. It is transparent and can be used in all weather conditions. There are no shutters. The hurricane windows are also able to block out noise from outside, prevent break-ins, and filter harmful UV rays.
  • Cons: Windows must be installed by a contractor and labor costs can be high.

Shutters for accordion

These aluminum shutters can be placed on the side of your windows or doors when they are not being used. They fold up like an accordion and protect your home from storm damage. These shutters are able to protect your home from wind and forced entry. You can usually find them in a range of colors.

  • Cost per square foot: $15-25
  • Insurance discount: This is dependent on the state regulations and your insurance company.
  • Pros: In the event of a severe storm, accordion shutters can be quickly and easily deployed. They can be permanently attached to your house so they don’t need storage.
  • Cons: Some shutters may not look attractive on certain houses. Shutter mechanisms may not open or close as easily or more frequently than other products.

Bahama shutters

Bahama shutters hinge at the top of the windows and angle outwards from the wall using telescoping arms. Support arms can be adjusted from 60 to 90 degrees. Shutters provide privacy, light and ventilation to the home. Shutters are often used in sunny or coastal areas and can give homes a distinctive, tropical look.

  • Cost per square foot: $15-20
  • Insurance discount: This is dependent on the state regulations and your insurance company.
  • The pros: Bahama shutters attach permanently to your home and are easy to deploy. They can be painted to match or complement the home and are made of aluminum, vinyl, or wood.
  • Cons: They can almost permanently block your view from windows, and make your home darker. There are many options for hurricane protection, and each style is different.

Colonial shutters

Colonial shutters are a traditional type of window protection. They attach to the sidewalls of the window and then fold inwards to close. They are permanently fixed to the frame of the window and can be easily closed using a clip system.

  • Cost: Colonial shutters are moderately priced compared to other window protection products. They cost approximately $18-30 per square foot.
  • Insurance discount: This is dependent on the state regulations and your insurance company.
  • The shutters are easy to close by one person. These shutters can be decorative and add curb appeal to a house.
  • Cons: They need to be permanently installed in a house. This can be costly and time-consuming. Sometimes professional installation is required.

The bottom line

The hurricane season is June through November. This is the most fearful month for homeowners who live near the coast. A hurricane can cause severe damage to a home or leave it in ruin. Residents who live along the coast are more at risk for hurricane damage, which could lead to higher homeowners insurance premiums. There are ways to reduce the cost of home insurance. These include doing your research and shopping around for the best coverage. You can also take preventive measures to protect your home. Find out how much homeowners insurance costs in your area to find out what you should pay.

Preventive measures can be a good way to avoid costly repairs. Many property insurance companies offer discounts to homeowners who take steps to prevent or reduce damage. Installing storm panels in certain locations can not only reduce the potential damage caused by hurricanes, but it may also help you get a discount from an insurer. To determine the best preventive measures you can take to avoid hurricane damage, consider your geographical location. Talk to your insurance to find out about any discounts available for risk mitigation efforts.