How to prepare your home for a hurricane

While Canada isn’t usually hit as hard by hurricanes as the U.S., Cuba or China, we still feel the impact of these severe tropical storms – especially in Atlantic Canada. The Atlantic hurricane season typically starts in June and ends around November.

What is a hurricane?

A hurricane can produce winds from 120 km per hour along with torrential rain. They tend to strike in areas that are close to warmer water which is why Atlantic Canada, which gets a current of warm water from the Gulf Stream, is more vulnerable.

Hurricanes can cause a lot of damage, not just from the winds but also from serious flooding. It’s important to know how to be prepared for a hurricane, as well as what to do while a hurricane is taking place.

What to do before a hurricane
  • Stay informed by listening for advisories on TV, radio, websites like the Canadian Hurricane Centre Opens in new window or social media (e.g. Environment Canada on Twitter: @environmentca).
What’s the difference between a hurricane warning and a hurricane watch?
  • A hurricane warning means the hurricane is already happening or will soon be approaching your area.
  • A hurricane watch means it’s possible there’ll be a hurricane in your area.
  • Secure any outdoor furniture, garbage cans or other items that could be blown away by strong winds (if possible, bring them indoors).
  • Cut down any dead trees that are close to your house and trim back dead tree branches to keep them from falling and damaging your home.
  • Depending on the severity of the storm, you may also need to board up your windows if you don’t have hurricane shutters.
  • In case of power outages, make sure you have flashlights (wind-up flashlights are best) and a portable radio (again, go with the wind-up version). If you only have battery-operated flashlights and radios, be sure to have plenty of extra batteries on hand.
  • Stock up on bottled water and food that’s ready-to-eat (at least 72 hours’ worth).
  • Make sure you have plenty of gas in your car in case you need to evacuate the area.
  • Have a communication plan in place to get in touch with family members if you’re not all in the same area.
During a hurricane
  • Again, stay informed of the storm’s progress on your radio.
  • Close all windows and doors.
  • Stay indoors. As much as it might make for a great video or Instagram-worthy photo, it’s not worth putting yourself in danger.
  • You might notice a few minutes of calm during the middle of the storm. This means the “eye” (or center) of the storm is passing over you. Continue to stay inside as, once it passes, the winds will pick up again from the opposite direction.
  • You may be told to evacuate by local authorities. Be sure to avoid any flooded areas and washed out bridges.
After the hurricane
  • Listen to your radio for further instructions from local authorities.
  • Prepare for the possibility of flooding.
  • If you had to evacuate your home, don’t return to it until you’ve been told by authorities that it’s safe to do so.
  • Restock any emergency supplies that were used, including batteries.
  • Unless you’re certain there are no gas leaks or that no flammable liquids have spilled, don’t turn on any lights or light any matches.

As far as insurance coverage goes, flooding caused by a hurricane isn’t covered under a standard home insurance policy or by overland water coverage. If you have damage caused by flooding, you may be able to qualify for government assistance. Damage caused by fallen trees or unsecured objects would be covered under your home policy.

For Sonnet customers, our claims team is available 24-hours a day and are ready to help get you back to good.


Prepare for any emergency by making sure you have the right home insurance. Get a quote from Sonnet now.