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What to do during a hurricane event


Now that you are completely prepared for a storm, it’s time to explain what actions to take when you receive a hurricane watch or warning alert from the National Weather Service for your local area. It also provides tips on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane.

First, it’s important to know the difference between a watch and a warning (click here for Hurricanes 101).

Hurricane watch = conditions POSSIBLE within the next 48 hrs.

Steps to take:

  1. It’s time to review your evacuation route(s) & listen to local officials by monitoring local radio or television stations.
  2. Then review the items in your disaster supply kit and add items to meet the household needs of children, parents, individuals with disabilities or other access and functional needs or pets.

Hurricane warning = conditions are EXPECTED within 36 hrs.

Steps to take:

  1. Follow evacuation orders from local officials.
  2. Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media. Communication is KEY in alerting others of your plans and making sure you are safe.
  3. Follow your hurricane timeline preparedness checklist below, depending on when the storm is anticipated to hit and the impact that is projected for your location.

What to do when a hurricane is 36 hours from arriving

icon of person planning ahead for hurricane season

  • It’s time to PREPARE!  Follow these helpful tips here on how to make sure you are ready for the storm.

What to do when a hurricane is 18-36 hours from arriving

  • Make sure you bookmark your city or county website for quick access to storm updates and emergency instructions.


  • Bring all loose, lightweight objects indoors that could become projectiles in high winds (patio furniture, garbage cans) Make sure to anchor any other items that would be unsafe to bring inside (propane tanks).  Trim or remove trees close enough to fall on your house.


  • Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows but a second option is to board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.

What to do when a hurricane is 6-18 hours from arriving

  • Turn on your TV or radio or check your city/county website every 15-20 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.


  • Make sure to charge your cell phone now so you will have a full battery in case you lose power.

What to do when a hurricane is 6 hours from arriving

Hurricane is 6 hours from arrival:

  • If you’re not in an area that is recommended for evacuation, plan to stay at home and “hunker down”.  Alert your friends and family so that they know where you are.


  • Since you’ve already followed these steps to prepare your home, close storm shutters, and stay away from any windows.


  • Make sure you turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary.  This way, If you lose power your food will stay colder and last longer.  Monitor the internal temperature of your refrigerator and check for food safety.


  • Turn on your TV and radio to your local news stations or check your city/county website every 20 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.

Many counties have an emergency alert system which you can sign up for to get text and email alerts. You will be notified immediately if there is bad weather heading your way. To sign up for this you can search on your cell phone for an app, or google the county you live in and the word “alert”.

After the Storm

Safety Tips:

Be safe!   Make sure everyone is safe, including your pets.

If you have evacuated, wait until authorities tell you it’s safe before returning home.

Stay tuned to the local news for important announcements, bulletins, and instructions concerning the storm area. You will be able to stay informed of medical aid and other assistance, like where you can get food, water, and shelter.

Protect Yourself. Always be careful when entering a damaged building. Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines.

♦  When returning home, turn off the main electrical circuit switch before heading back inside. Stand on a dry surface and do not touch the metal handle of the switch box. Use a piece of heavy rubber, plastic or a piece of dry wood to open the metal door and throw the switch.

♦  Do not use matches or turn on light switches until you know it is safe.

♦  Sniff for gas leaks. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open windows and evacuate. Call the gas company immediately.

♦  Keep a watch for holes in the floor, loose boards, and broken glass.

♦  If your home has been flooded, check for snakes and other animals that may have entered the property.

Protect Your Property. If you need to make immediate repairs (ie. tarp on roof or boards on windows), take pictures before starting, and keep all receipts for your insurance company.

Prepare a List.  Before you start the cleanup, prepare an inventory of all damaged or destroyed personal property (your home inventory list will help you greatly at this point).

Keep Receipts. If your home is uninhabitable due to storm damage and you must seek other lodging, keep all your receipts. Most insurance policies reimburse for emergency lodging and food.

♦  If you lost power, check your refrigerator for food that may have been spoiled. Read your insurance policy to see if you have coverage for spoiled food. If you do, document your losses so you can get reimbursed.

Submit Claim. After you’ve examined everything and determined the extent of the damage, call Gulfstream at 866.485.3005 to start the claims process. Keep a written record of everyone you talk to about your insurance claim, including the date of the conversation and a summary of what was said.

♦  When you call customer service to make your claim, you can request a list of contractors for emergency help. If you utilize a contractor to help secure and protect your property, be sure to keep the receipts.

Get the Proper Help.  After you file a claim you’ll need the right professional to assist you; one you can trust to do only the highest quality work. We have worked with many skilled professionals across the Gulf Coast*. Please visit www.gspcic.com/aob for a list of helpful hints when hiring a contractor.

Read the Fine Print.  When getting quotes and discussing contracts read everything, including the fine print, of anything you are asked to sign. Some contractors may request you sign an Assignment of Benefits (AOB), which is basically transferring your claim interest over to them.

Please click here for more info on AOB.


Gulfstream insurance is available in the following states:

**Gulfstream is not writing new business in the states of Mississippi or Texas at this time.

Contact Us

Address for Gulfstream policy payments
& correspondence:

P.O. Box 100248
Columbia, SC 29202-3248

Customer Service: 866.485.3004, option 4
Insurance Claims: Flood Claims 888.481.1159 All other claims 866.485.3005

Flood Insurance Mailing Address

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