One inch of floodwater can cause $7,800 worth of damage to your home. Busted garage doors can easily let in that much water and more. In fact, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) identified loss of garage doors as one of the major factors contributing to hurricane storm damage in homes.
However, you can take steps to protect your garage doors from hurricanes and possibly lower your insurance premiums in the process.
Purchase New Hurricane-Proof or Wind-Resistant Garage Doors
First, check your local codes. In some hurricane-prone areas, codes require that a garage door withstand winds up to 130 mph. In Miami-Dade County of Florida, codes are even stricter, and doors must withstand hurricane-force winds of 150 mph. There are two grades:
- Impact-resistant garage doors are made with a steel or fiberglass veneer, and are designed to withstand the force of objects hurled against them. Check the manufacturer’s specifications for wind-resistance.
- Hurricane-proof doors feature an extra-strong steel track system and twist-resistant framework.
Impact-resistant and hurricane-proof garage doors cost between $750 and $1,295.
Install Garage Door Bracing Kits
The surest way to prevent a garage door from failing in hurricane-force winds is to brace the door using a garage door bracing kit. A hurricane-resistant retrofit kit for garage doors includes braces and hardware and costs about $500 for a double garage door. You can probably install braces yourself, if you're handy with a drill.
Be sure that the track of your garage door is at least 14-gauge weight--check the owner's manual or look for markings on the track--and is securely mounted with screws at all appropriate screw locations. Replace any loose screws with longer screws.
Ask Your Insurer About Discounts for Hurricane-Mitigation Improvements
In Florida's Miami-Dade County, for example, the annual insurance premium on an older home insured for $150,000 runs between $3,000 and $8,000, assuming no hurricane-mitigation improvements. With improvements, such as storm shutters or hurricane-resistant garage doors, the same home would cost between $1,000 and $3,500 to insure, or about 30% less.