Preparing for a Hurricane or Severe Windstorm

Image of a tornado warning

Knowing what to do and how to prepare for unpredictable hurricanes, tornadoes and other windstorms will help protect you, your family and your home.

Before a storm

Develop an Emergency Preparedness Plan. Mapping out and going over an emergency plan with your family and household is a worthwhile exercise. The plan does not need to be extensive, but it should include information on what to do in an emergency situation, safe places to take refuge within and outside of the home, escape routes, emergency contact numbers, as well as the location and use of emergency supplies and equipment.

Secure your vehicles. Take the opportunity to secure your vehicle(s) in your garage, secured car port or stable enclosed space if you own one. If not, try to keep them away from large trees, streetlamps, and power lines.

Secure Outdoor Items. If safe to do so, before a windstorm hits, walk around your property and secure loose items such as patio furniture, barbeques, fire pits, children’s toys, gardening, maintenance or sports equipment, waste, recycling and compost bins. Loose items can be pushed around by strong winds and be damaged or cause damage to nearby property. Proactively address weak points or broken parts of your fence so that further damage is not caused by loose boards during a windstorm. Depending on the nature of that storm, you might want to consider boarding up your windows.

During a Storm, Protect Your Family

Stay Low. The basement or lowest level of your home is safest. If you don’t have access to a basement, move to a small interior room such as a closet or bathroom, or take refuge under a flight of stairs.

Stay Inside. The inside of a building is the safest place during a windstorm. Try to avoid windows. If you can’t find shelter inside a building, lie down in a ditch or ravine and use your arms to protect your head and neck. If you are in a vehicle, pull over and leave your vehicle for shelter, if possible. Stay away from bridges and overpasses.

Stay in the Know. Become familiar with your community’s severe weather warning system and make sure every member of your family knows what to do in case severe weather hits. In addition to your family’s emergency preparedness plan, learn about the emergency plans at your workplace, as well as at your children’s school and/or daycare.

While this article focusses on protection from high winds, it’s important to remember that torrential rainfall often comes with hurricanes. So be sure to review our tips to help prevent possible water damage.

For more information on windstorm safety, visit the Government of Canada’s public safety site.

After a Storm

Inspect your Home for Damages. When safe to do so, inspect the exterior of your home and property for damage. If you smell gas or notice a fallen or broken power line, remove yourself from danger and contact the appropriate emergency response or professional service to manage the situation.

Document and Take Photos of all Damage to your Property, when safe to do so.

Contact your insurance provider to walk you through the claims process and execute emergency repair services as needed. If you plan on submitting a claim, remember to provide them with details on the date and time, a list of damaged items and (if possible) photos or videos of the damage.

How to Report a Home or Auto Claim

If you are you are an Allstate policy holder within an impacted area, our Claims team remains ready to support you. They can be reached toll free at 1-800-561-7222. Alternatively, if you’re registered for myAllstate, you can submit a claim online.

We’ve also developed an FAQ to help assist you during the claims process.

Disclaimer: This information has been provided for your convenience only and should not be construed as providing legal or insurance advice.