Homeowners insurance, hurricane shuttersIf you live along the coast, anywhere from Maine to Texas, you’ve probably dealt with at least one hurricane before. The resulting damage can be anywhere from nonexistent to devastating; the sudden changes of pressure, the buffeting rain and the biting wind can do a number on any standing structure, and it’s no surprise that windows are usually the first things to go when the wind picks up. However, there are ways to protect your home and yourself with the addition of hurricane shutters.

Hurricane shutters are designed to protect against wind, debris picked up by that wind, and the sudden changes in pressure common during a hurricane. According to the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, if a door or window gives out during a hurricane the resulting pressure shift in the house can cause the roof of your home to fail, blow out your windows and more; this is essentially the equivalent of getting your house “totaled” in an accident. Because of the level of damage the loss of a single window can cause, hurricane shutters aren’t just a worthwhile investment—they’re a necessary one.

Beyond the protection they’re designed to offer, hurricane shutters can allow homeowners to reap other benefits as well. Many home insurance companies offer discounts and lower rates to homeowners who take the extra step to protect their house with more than just a monthly payment; good hurricane shutters let your insurer know that you’re ready to take care of yourself, and in the event of a hurricane the cost of repair will be significantly lower than that of your shutter-less next door neighbor. Furthermore, if you live in an area prone to hurricanes—most notably Florida—and are looking to sell your home, a couple additions can go a long way. Prospective home buyers also love knowing that their new home comes with these protections pre-installed, meaning that this investment could result in a quicker sale at a higher price.

It is possible to install these shutters yourself for lower cost than professional installation, but FloridaDisaster.org makes it expressly clear that you should only embark on this kind of hardcore DIY endeavor if you already have the experience and expertise needed to do the installation right.

This means knowing the following:

  1. How the walls of your home are constructed, from finishes to load-bearing locations
  2. Intimate awareness of any outstanding structural features, such as window sills and flowerboxes
  3. What kind of shutters you need to withstand the kind of wind your area experiences
  4. How to install these shutters to properly withstand hurricane level pressure

If you’re not intimately aware of all these aspects of your home and your needs, then it’s best to leave it up the professionals.

When you set out to select shutters that work for you, make sure you find a trustworthy installation company and make it clear what kind of work you want done. If you’re aiming for discounts on your insurance premium, let your chosen contractor know from the outset so they can choose the right installation to meet your needs. In the end, the investment will definitely pay for itself.