McChristian says just because your home mortgage company may not require you to carry flood insurance doesn't mean you don't need it.
"That's the biggest mistake -- people don't get flood insurance unless someone makes them get it," she says. "What they're overlooking is that about 20% of all National Flood Insurance Program claims are submitted by homeowners who live in low- to moderate-risk zones. That's a high percentage."
Homeowners in 19 states and the District of Columbia also should take an annual glance at their home insurance hurricane deductibles.
After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, home insurers introduced a separate hurricane deductible in order to keep home premiums in check. But unlike the set dollar amount of your home deductible, hurricane deductibles -- and similar windstorm deductibles -- are based on a portion of your home's assessed value, usually between 1%-5%.
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Take advantage of available resources
McChristian urges restraint when it comes to choosing your hurricane/wind deductible.
"My rule is, never take a deductible that is higher than what you can afford," she says. "If you do and you get hit by a storm, you may not have that money set aside to repair your home."
She urges homeowners to download and complete the Insurance Information Institute's free home inventory app at KnowYourStuff.org.
"It costs you nothing but a little time and helps tremendously after a natural disaster," she notes.
Unfortunately, all of the emergency checklists and home preparedness videos on the Internet will do little good if homeowners ignore them.
That's where the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, or FLASH, comes in. Led by president and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson, this Tallahassee, Florida-based nonprofit operates as a public awareness firm, of sorts, to make disaster preparedness a normal part of our everyday lives.
Emphasis on resilience
"We are trying to popularize the idea that you can survive, you can afford what's necessary to survive and you can recover quickly," she explains. "It's not luck when you and your home survive; it's because you did things purposefully ahead of time."
The FLASH website features videos that break down preparedness projects by time commitment: one hour, one day or one weekend.
It's all part of the evolution of home preparedness away from the negative, lawyerly sounding "storm mitigation" toward a more upbeat, holistic emphasis on "resilience."
"The appeal of resilience is, we like the idea of being resourceful and able to overcome and bounce back. Everybody can find something to relate to in it," says Grover, of the University of Washington. "The resilience of a community will return benefits in terms of sustainability and quality of life beyond just hazard mitigation. It's not just a set of actions; it's a forward-looking strategy for life."