June 1, 2018, a day that shore homeowners across New Jersey and the rest of the Atlantic should have circled on their calendars. The first day of June is not the beginning of summer, as much as we like to believe it is. This day actually marks the beginning of the hurricane season across the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic coastline, especially New Jersey, is no stranger to hurricane season. From minor beach erosion to full on flooding that has resulted in the loss of homes, New Jersey shore homes have taken their fair share of beatings from Mother Nature over the years. As weather patterns become more unpredictable and constantly changing, it’s important that as shore homeowners, you do what is necessary to protect your investment. Whether you’re living in a luxury condo in Atlantic City all year long or own a rental beachfront bungalow in Cape May, you should take a few precautions to keep your home safe this upcoming hurricane season.
When assessing the best way to protect and manage your shore home property, one factor that you need to keep in mind is the various types of risks that can present themselves. Certain risks require certain coverage. This is especially true if you rent your New Jersey shore home to family, friends, and strangers. Some of the risks that you need to have covered are dwelling, personal property, and personal liability coverage. A sure way to protect your investment is to find a comprehensive homeowner’s insurance policy. This policy will typically cover medical care for people injured on your property, damage from natural disasters, and personal property replacement.
However, it’s necessary to point out that many New Jersey shore homes need to have a separate policy for flood insurance. Many residents found out during Hurricane Sandy that not all homeowners’ insurance policies automatically covered flood damage. Flood damage is usually the major cause of damage to shore homes during a natural disaster. If your home lies within the designated flood zone, it’s recommended that you check your policy and get the necessary insurance to protect your home.
Unless your shore home is your main residence, the likelihood that you spend a considerable amount of time there in the offseason is slim. If you don’t live locally where you can check on it every week, chances are your property will be left empty for weeks until you visit or a renter stays. It’s a good idea to make friends with the local neighbors and year ‘round residents. There are some residents who live at the shore all year long and are willing to check on properties for people who cannot make. You should give this responsibility to someone you truly trust and will keep you informed on the status and condition of your home and neighborhood.
Periodically checking on the state of your house will help you to detect any problems as they arise or before they become greater. On every visit, check the plumbing, HVAC system, fire detectors, security alarms, and inspect for water damage. This will also give you a chance to make continued updates to your home throughout the year. Making periodic updates to your shore home or property can help to keep the cost of your insurance down as well.
Even though it may seem as if summer and hurricane season are a little bit away, it’s never too early to start preparing. The sooner you take steps to prepare your home; the better you’ll be able to protect your shore home investment in the event of a natural disaster.