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How to Prepare for Severe Weather

by Dawn Klintworth

Spring brings threat of severe weather

No matter where you live, springtime will likely signal a change in the severity of the weather. Whether your area is prone to thunderstorms and tornadoes or drought and wildfires, being prepared and creating a safety plan for your family is the first step to keep you and yours safe.  

A Spring 2023 COUNTRY Financial survey showed one in four Americans has dealt with storm-related damage to their home, with the heaviest impact in the South (29%) and least impact in the West (19%).  Another one in three believe they will eventually have their homes damaged by storms, too. 

Prepare for severe weather

When you’re in the path of a severe storm, you don’t want to be gathering supplies and making plans to keep your family safe. Having a plan can help make a stressful situation less overwhelming. Consider these emergency preparedness tips. 

Have an emergency plan

Depending on the type of weather emergency, you may need to go to the safest place in your home or follow evacuation orders of local authorities. 

Find the most-secure place in your home

For storms and tornadoes that threaten the structure of your home, plan to seek shelter in the safest place in your home. That could be a basement, crawl space, internal closet, or  bathtub.  

Know where you’ll go if evacuated

If you had to leave your home in an extreme weather emergency, where would you go? Identify family members or friends who live far enough away from you to get beyond the path of a hurricane, wildfire, or other types of natural disaster. Tell them you’d like to include them in your emergency evacuation plan and make sure they’re willing to take you in. 

Communicate the plan

Once you have a plan, make sure your family understands what will happen in an emergency.  If you have young children, show them how to take shelter in your home or tell them about your plan to stay safe in a weather emergency. 

Build an emergency preparedness kit 

Put together a supply of essentials and safety items in an emergency kit to help prepare for a storm, power outage, or other disaster. It’s easy to do when you know what to include. 

Start with the basics

  • A three-to-five-day supply of bottled water and nonperishable food
  • Battery-operated flashlight
  • Battery-operated radio and NOAA Weather Radio
  • Extra batteries for the flashlight and radio
  • A first-aid kit
  • Extra cell phone charger or battery source for your phone
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags

Get more tips at

Gather important personal information

  • Phone numbers of neighbors, family and friends (or make sure they are in your phone contacts)
  • Insurance and property information (we make that info available in the COUNTRY Financial mobile app)
  • Phone numbers of utility companies
  • Medical information
  • Know where to get critical documents like birth certificates

Find more tips from the CDC.

Review your home insurance

Make sure you have the right homeowners insurance coverage in case your home is damaged in a weather event, especially with higher costs for building supplies for home renovations/repair.

According to our recent survey, American homeowners seem to be prepared for severe weather. More than three in four homeowners (77%) say they have enough money to cover their home insurance deductible if they experience major damage to their home.

But, three in four homeowners surveyed recognize they could be doing more to prepare, calling out these specific steps:

  • saving more money for emergencies (34%),

  • reviewing or becoming more familiar with their home insurance policy (20%), or

  • increasing their home insurance coverage (12%).

Schedule time with your insurance agent to review your home insurance. After the storm is not the time to learn your home protection will not provide the coverage you need. 

Contact a local insurance agent.


Updated 4-11-23

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1The COUNTRY Financial Security Index® survey of 1,031 U.S. adults, fielded by market researcher Ipsos.

COUNTRY Financial® is a family of affiliated companies (collectively, COUNTRY) located in Bloomington, IL. Learn more about who we are.