Large hurricane over the ocean

Hurricane Safety Tips: Before, During, and After a Storm

By the Mercury Team

Keeping you, your loved ones, and your property safe begins with preparation. Hurricanes and other strong storms can often appear suddenly, leaving little time to grab your belongings and head to a safe area. These disasters can cause high winds, flying debris, and flash flooding. If you’re in an area prone to hurricane watches and warnings, it’s important to know how to stay out of harm’s way.

Mercury Insurance recommends the following hurricane safety precautions when disaster is headed your way:

What to Do Before a Hurricane

Before hurricane season arrives, ensure you perform the following tasks:

Stock an Emergency Kit

FEMA recommends the following items, plus a few more from Mercury:

  • A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person) and non-perishable food items
  • A battery-powered or hand-crank radio (and extra batteries)
  • A flashlight
  • A first-aid kit
  • A whistle to signal for help
  • A can opener
  • Blankets
  • Pliers or a wrench to turn off utilities
  • Mercury recommendations:
    • $200 in cash, as power may be out so credit cards won’t work
    • Prescriptions for you and your pets
    • Three-day supply of food for your pets if you have them

Acquire a Generator

Power outages are common during a hurricane. So, if you can’t evacuate, this might come in handy.

Review Your Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive auto insurance only covers damage, so do an annual checkup well before hurricane season starts to ensure your vehicle is protected.

Understand the Risks of Your Area

Extreme winds and flooding from rain and storm surges pose big risks for those people living near the coast. Those who live inland may feel safer, but wind, thunderstorms, and flooding are very real risks to be considered.

Follow Instructions

If the local authorities recommend evacuation, do so quickly and safely. Don’t return until they say it’s safe to do so. You should also call your insurance company, as your homeowners policy may cover expenses incurred if you evacuate your home.

Always Keep Documents in a Safe Place

This includes copies of insurance policies, birth certificates, social security cards, important financial documents, and other identification. Scan a set of these documents and bring them with you on a flash drive. You should also consider backing them up on a cloud-based digital storage site.

Never Try to Ride Out the Storm

Hurricanes are somewhat unpredictable and can turn or weaken at the last minute, but that’s no reason to take chances. Sitting in traffic with throngs of others looking to evacuate isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you don’t have personal transportation, make arrangements to evacuate with someone else or take public transportation.

Evaluate Your Belongings

This will help determine what to take with you should you need to leave. Toiletries, extra prescriptions, changes of clothing, and irreplaceable items like photos and mementos are things to consider.

Turn Off Utilities Before You Leave

Be sure to turn off your gas, water, and electricity if you plan to evacuate. If you’re unable to leave, turn off your utilities if you’re instructed to do so.

What to Do During a Hurricane

If you cannot evacuate, make sure to follow these tips to keep you as safe as possible:

Ready Your Emergency Plan

Know where family members will meet if instructed to evacuate, as well as several options to get out of the city in case routes are blocked. Establish a meeting point ahead of time. Staying with friends or family living outside the local area is a good option, but also research hotels and shelters.

Reinforce Your Home

Close shutters or use plywood to board up windows and doors. Secure outdoor furniture, potted plants, and other items that may become projectiles during the storm.

Remain Indoors

If it’s too late to evacuate, stay indoors. Keep away from windows and get to the highest level possible if your home is located in a flood zone.

Head to Higher Ground

If you need to evacuate the area, go somewhere outside of the flood zone.

What to Do After a Hurricane

After the storm passes, here’s what you need to do:

Call Your Local Insurance Agent

Verify what is and is not covered if you’re affected by a hurricane. Homeowners insurance doesn’t usually cover weather-related flooding, but flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program. If you live in a high-risk area, consider purchasing a policy.

Check If Your Car is Flooded

After a hurricane, there’s a good chance your car may be flooded. Here are some precautions to take:

  • Check the depth of the floodwater in relation to your vehicle
  • Avoid starting your car, as this will cause more damage if there’s water in the engine
  • Start drying out your car soon as possible by using a wet or dry vacuum and dry towels.
  • Ventilate your vehicle by opening all your car doors
  • Check your oil dipstick to see if there are any water droplets

File a Claim

If your vehicle is damaged in a hurricane, it may be covered by your auto insurance policy if you carry comprehensive coverage. If you need to file a claim with Mercury, here’s what you need to do:

  • Contact Mercury immediately about your report loss
  • Be ready to provide your policy number
  • Don’t move your vehicle or any debris that may be related to your claim
  • Prepare a detailed inventory of any damage to your vehicle
  • Provide photos or videos to your claims representative
  • Keep records and receipts for additional expenses that might have been incurred and give copies to your claims representative

Avoid Purchasing a Flood-Damaged Car

If you don’t have a car, but are in the market, don’t buy a flood-damaged car. Here are the things you need to look out for:

  • A musty, moldy aroma in the interior. Also, look for strong air fresheners since sellers may use these to help cover up the smell.
  • Look for rust on screws in the console or other areas where water usually wouldn’t reach unless the car has been flooded.
  • Check for rusting inside the vehicle and under the interior carpeting.
  • Check the VIN and contact the National Insurance Crime Bureau to learn the vehicle’s history.
  • Go for a test drive and listen for abnormal noises, such as a grinding noise from the brakes or a squeak over bumps.
  • Get a pre-purchase inspection from a mechanic or dealership to ensure the vehicle is in working condition.


Knowing what to do before, during, and after a hurricane can help your family and property stay as safe as possible when disaster strikes. It’s also important to get the right auto insurance before the hurricane to help to keep your vehicle protected during a hurricane. If you’re looking for insurance, Mercury offers reliable coverage at an affordable rate.

Contact us today for a fast, free quote!

Mercury Team

The Mercury Marketing Team is made up of professionals in the fields of Content Creation, Public Relations and Social Media. The team works together to deliver professionally written and researched content to provide information for consumers.

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