FLORIDA — Often times it takes a disaster to provide an opportunity to be better prepared for the next one. Many lessons about home construction came from the hurricane that hit Florida in 1992.

  • Hurricane Andrew has taught valuable lessons, says expert
  • Structural integrity, like the roofing material, is very important
  • Construction enhancements make homes stronger 
  • Get the latest hurricane coverage and information here

"Andrew taught us to make sure that the code language was right, and to make sure what was being built was what was expected," according to Anne Cope with the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS).

Experts like Cope focus on structural integrity in the face of adverse weather at their testing. Their research has revealed ways to fortify home construction. 

According to Cope, "The roof is number one, most important. Roofing material can be torn off, when that happens, you get the rain coming in"

Their simulated environment reveals where critical failures often occur, such as when high winds tearing a home apart once wind gets inside.

Cope indicated the areas of your home to focus on, including "windows, doors, and garage doors, those are the things you want to make sure you have protected."     

Construction improvements are making homes stronger.

"Sometimes it is as simple as a small strap, that's tied continuously from your second story down to your first story, to help keep your home together so Mother Nature can't blow it away," explained Cope. 

However, not everyone is in the market for a new house. If you already have a home, there are things you can do to protect your investment. 

Making sure your gutters are attached and your trees are trimmed back are simple things you can do now, before hurricane season starts.  

When high winds are imminent, you will want to take outdoor items down and patio furniture should be brought indoors.

If you are in the market for new construction, know that engineering improvements are working.

"We're keeping buildings tied together. We're seeing less damage than we have in the past," Cope assured.

That trend will hopefully continue into the 2019 hurricane season.

If you are in the process of buying a new home, IBHS recommends that it meets its "Fortified Home" standards.

IBHS encourage those who are buying an existing home to ask questions, such as what year the home was built, how new the roof is, and if it was built to code.