Prepare home for severe weather

Severe Weather Preparation

May flowers aren’t the only thing April showers bring. Wind, hail, lightning, and floods can all appear suddenly, causing a lot of damage to property. With climate change, recent years have seen a spike in severe weather events. For instance, according to the National Weather Service in January of 2023 alone, there were 168 tornadoes, which is over four times the number during the same month during 2022 and more than 10 times the number occurring in 2021.

Here are simple things you can do to prepare your home for severe spring weather.

Inspect your home

  • Check your roof. A quick walk-around of your house and outbuildings may turn up areas that need attention. Look for loose siding and roofing materials — especially shingles and metal panels. These may blow off easily and take other materials along with them.
  • Make sure you have surge protection. A lightning strike or power outage could fry your expensive electronic devices and burn out your wiring. Guard them with a few inexpensive surge protectors.
  • Keep up with tree-trimming. Dead branches can cause a lot of damage when they land on your house or your car, and can take down power lines, too.
  • Clean out your gutters. If they’re plugged up, the water will find somewhere else to go — like your basement, between the siding and exterior walls, or through leaky windows.
  • Test your sump pump. If it’s not working, it won’t do you much good if water does end in your basement. (Learn more how to protect yourself from a wet basement.)
  • Batten down the hatches. If you know bad weather is coming, stash your outdoor furniture, toys, bikes, etc., out of harm's way.

Pack your emergency kit

Packing emergency kits for your home and your car will prepare you and your family for severe weather. Lists available from and the National Weather Service recommend including the following items in your kit. Some may seem obvious, but others are things you might not think of.

  • Flashlights and extra batteries.
  • First aid kit that includes necessary medications, as well as bandages, ointment, and disinfectant wipes. If you have small children, also include formula and diapers.
  • Non-perishable food. Include protein-rich foods such as nuts and energy bars and canned foods. Pack a manual can opener, too.
  • Water is even more important than food. Pack at least 1 gallon of water per person per day.
  • Basic tools including pliers, a wrench, and screwdrivers.
  • Important documents such as your identification, insurance information, and banking information. Not securing these documents could expose you to potential fraud.
  • Radio, either battery-powered or hand-cranked.
  • Clothes including gloves, hat, and rain poncho. You may also want a change of clothes for each member of your family.
  • Blankets or sleeping bags.
  • Cell phone chargers, including your standard home and car models, but also portable and solar chargers as well.
  • Pet supplies for your pet, including food, water, and medicine.
  • Cat litter for better tire traction (or for your displaced kitty).
  • Jumper cables for your vehicle.
  • A whistle or flares can be literal lifesavers if you're off the road and need to signal rescuers.
  • Toilet paper and tissues could come in handy if you're stranded for a long period.

You can also prepare your home for a power outage.

For more information

Visit for more information about how you and your family can prepare for severe weather. And learn more about our home coverages so you can stay covered all year long.

Updated 3/2023