Many people believe a severe weather event will never happen to them. Unfortunately, the facts beg to differ. According to a recent study from Esurance, most Americans have experienced at least one catastrophic weather incident within just the last five years.

Despite that alarming fact, only 17 percent of U.S. residents felt they were personally prepared for a looming natural disaster. Protecting our homes and our loved ones is paramount, but unfortunately, when severe weather hits, there’s not always a warning. That means prepping your family and your home for potentially disastrous weather is a must.

What can you do to be prepared? First, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes recommends developing a family safety plan. Then, look to technology. Thankfully, we have an array of high-tech options at our fingertips that are accessible and affordable.

Here are three items on the market today that could help save your valuables and your home … not to mention your life.

Home-Based Alert Devices

In the past, wireless weather stations were less than affordable for most families. Today, there are many options on the market for around $100. These devices can monitor your local temperature, humidity, rainfall, pressure and wind speed. Many of them then connect to your smartphone, tablet or computer to keep you up-to-date on conditions at your home with pinpoint accuracy. Some also include video capabilities so you can keep an eye on your home’s exterior, whether you’re inside the house or far away.

Smart Sensors

Sensors for smoke and carbon monoxide are commonplace these days, along with lighting and motion detectors. The trick is to have sensors in your home that make sense for you. Consider the kind of severe weather your area is likely to experience, and choose the sensors that can best protect your home.

Here are a few types of smart sensors you might consider, depending on your climate.

  • Water sensors. If your home is prone to flooding – or you live in a place with frequent large storms – consider looking for a water sensor that’ll give you advanced warning that your home may be flooding.
  • Motion-sensing video cameras. If you need to evacuate ahead of a storm, these cameras are a good way to keep an eye on what’s happening in your home, and can also help you decide whether it’s safe to return.
  • Smoke alarms. Gone are the days when a piece of burnt toast resulted in ear-piercing, panic-inducing shrieks. Today’s smart smoke detectors have varying pitches based on the severity of the smoke.

Emergency Radio with Chargers

In a worst-case scenario, you and your family could be without power for who knows how long. If a severe weather event does happen, it’s extremely important to remain connected to the outside world in case you need to call for help.

To ensure you’re able to stay in communication, the Red Cross recommends their emergency radio, which comes with weather alerts and smartphone chargers. This is one option, but any hand-crank charger should work to get your smartphones and tablets up and running if your power’s out for an extended period.

Bonus: Home Insurance

Having the right high-tech home installations in place can help minimize the potentially catastrophic effects of extreme weather. But before disaster hits your home, you’ll want to make sure you have reliable homeowners insurance to help you recover. Home insurance will help defray the expense of repairing your home after a storm and may even help with the cost of staying somewhere else until your place is livable again.

Consider this list a starting point for prioritizing items to add to your severe weather plan. Keep in mind that making sure everyone in the household can quickly find and/or access these items when an emergency strikes is of the utmost importance. Take the time to think about these things before you need them. When your preparedness helps save your home or protect your family, you’ll be glad you planned ahead.

About Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt has more than 25 years’ experience in the insurance industry. Eric currently serves as Chief Customer Advocate for Esurance, where he leads the customer experience, including claims fulfillment. Eric shares his knowledge by writing about a variety of subjects related to homeowners insurance. To learn more about Esurance’s homeowners insurance options, visit their website.