The Mortgage Man

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Gustav Threatens The Gulf Coast

Here we go again!

Well, we don’t get wildfires or mudslides or earthquakes, but we do stand in the way of nature’s fury in the way of tropical hurricanes.  Just as most of Florida is still wringing out their shorts from the deluge of rain in Fay, we are again squarely in the cross hairs of Hurricane Gustav.  Many didn’t take Fay seriously because it never reached hurricane status, and yet it set records for rain fall and is the only named storm in history to make landfall 4 times in the U.S.

Gustav, however, commands out respect from the start.  Already reaching hurricane status before it even gets into the gulf, Gustav threatens to be a category 3 before making landfall somewhere along the gulf coast early next week.

In keeping with the theme of this blog, we will focus on the potential implications of this storm as it relates to real estate and the economy.

If you are purchasing a home, make sure that you have your insurance in place immediately.  A Citizens policy (in Florida) will not write new coverage, increase coverage, or make any policy changes “when a Tropical Storm or Hurricane Watch or  Warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for any part of the State of Florida.”  Other insurance companies have a map of the Gulf of Mexico and draw a dotted line border around a certain geographic area called “The Box”.  If a named storm (tropical or hurricane) enters that box, they will not write new policies or make changes to existing policies until the storm hits land.  In some situations, this could delay closing for a week or more until the storm runs its course.

If you already own your home, now is the time to prepare.  Even with the number of hurricanes that we are exposed to on an annual basis, there are a shocking number of people that do not prepare.  Preparing your house means:

  • Check the trees around your house for dead limbs, these are the first to come down
  • Make sure that you have adequate protection for doors and windows.  Taping the windows is a waste of time.  Either board them up, or spend your time on other things.  Tape will not stop debris and it will not keep the glass from shattering.
  • Take photos of your property for insurance purposes.  If you happen to be the minority that keeps receipts for everything you own, this may be less important.  Be as specific as possible, and a video recording of everything is the preferred method.
  • Pack up anything that can not be easily replaced.  This would include family heirlooms, photos, jewelry, etc.  Also take insurance forms and important paperwork such as deeds and wills.
  • Assume that when you get back to your home, there will be no power and no water.  Fill a bath tub full of water to use for flushing toilets and possibly boil for drinking water.

There are many more resources on how to prepare your family and pets at NOAA.gov .

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