Fortunately Costa Rica does not get hurricanes but here's a funny look at Hurricane preparedness that we received from a friend about our Key West House
We're in the hurricane season. Any day now, you're going to turn on the TV and see a weather person pointing to some radar blob out in the Ocean or Gulf and making two basic meteorological points:
(1)There is no need to panic.
(2) We could all be killed.
Yes, hurricane season is an exciting time to be in Florida. If you're new to the area, you're probably wondering what you need to do to prepare for the possibility that we'll get hit by "the big one." Based on our experiences, we recommend that you follow this simple three-step hurricane preparedness plan:
STEP 1: Buy enough food and bottled water to last your family for at least three days.
STEP 2: Put these supplies into your car.
STEP 3: Drive to Nebraska and remain there until Halloween.
Unfortunately, statistics show that most people will not follow this sensible plan. Most people will foolishly stay in Florida.
We'll start with one of the most important hurricane preparedness items:
HOMEOWNERS' INSURANCE: If you own a home, you must have hurricane insurance. Fortunately, this insurance is cheap and easy to get, as long as your home meets two basic requirements:
(1) It is reasonably well-built, and
(2) It is located in Nebraska.
Unfortunately, if your home is located in Florida, or any other area that might actually be hit by a hurricane, most insurance companies would prefer not to sell you hurricane insurance, because then they might be required to pay YOU money, and that is certainly not why they got into the insurance business in the first place. So you'll have to scrounge around for an insurance company, which will charge you an annual premium roughly equal to the replacement value of your house. At any moment, this company can drop you like used dental floss.
I have had an estimated 27 different home-insurance companies. This week, I'm covered by the Bob and Big Stan Insurance Company, under a policy which states that, in addition to my premium, Bob and Big Stan are entitled, on demand, to my kidneys. If you live near the water in Florida, you’ll have many policies, one for wind, one for flood, one for homeowners. All of these policies will insure that the bank will be fully paid for your loss but you get nothing but an empty wind swept lot covered with destroyed lawn furniture, roof shingles and trailers. At least once per year your insurance company will “cancel” your policy causing your mortgage lender to find you a new, more expensive policy than before. You may eventually be able to buy an insurance policy to insure against cancelled policies.
SHUTTERS: Your house should have hurricane shutters on all the windows, all the doors, and--if it's a major hurricane--all the toilets. There are several types of shutters, with advantages and disadvantages:
Plywood shutters: The advantage is that, because you make them yourself, they're cheap. The disadvantage is that, because you make them yourself, they will fall off and kill your neighbors.
Sheet-metal shutters: The advantage is that these work well, once you get them all up. The disadvantage is that once you get them all up, your hands will be useless bleeding stumps, and it will be December.
Roll-down shutters: The advantages are that they're very easy to use, and will definitely protect your house. The disadvantage is that you will have to sell your house to pay for them.
Hurricane-proof windows: These are the newest wrinkle in hurricane protection: They look like ordinary windows, but they can withstand hurricane winds! You can be sure of this, because the salesman says so. He lives in Nebraska.
Hurricane Proofing your property: As the hurricane approaches, check your yard for movable objects like barbecue grills, planters, patio furniture, visiting
relatives, etc... You should, as a precaution, throw these items into your swimming pool (if you don't have a swimming pool, you should have one built immediately). Otherwise, the hurricane winds will turn these objects into deadly missiles.
EVACUATION ROUTE: If you live in a low-lying area, you should have an evacuation route planned out. (To determine whether you live in a low-lying area, look at your driver's license; if it says "Florida" you live in a low-lying area). The purpose of having an evacuation route is to avoid being trapped in your home when a major storm hits. Instead, you will be trapped in a gigantic traffic jam several miles from your home, along with two hundred thousand other evacuees. So, as a bonus, you will not be lonely.
HURRICANE SUPPLIES: If you don't evacuate, you will need a mess of supplies. Do not buy them now! Tradition requires that you wait until the last possible minute, then go to the supermarket and get into vicious fights with strangers over who gets the last can of SPAM. In addition to food and water, you will need the following supplies:
At least $167 worth of batteries (that turn out, when the power goes off) to be the wrong size for the flashlights.
Bleach. (No, I don't know what the bleach is for. NOBODY knows what the bleach is for, but it's traditional, so GET some!)
55 gallon drum of underarm deodorant.
A big knife that you can strap to your leg. (This will be useless in a hurricane, but it looks cool.)
A large quantity of raw chicken, to placate the alligators. (Ask anybody who went through Andrew; after the hurricane, there WILL be irate alligators.)
$35,000 in cash or diamonds so that, after the hurricane passes, you can buy a generator from a man with no discernible teeth.
Of course these are just basic precautions. As the hurricane draws near, it is vitally important that you keep abreast of the situation by turning on your television and watching TV reporters in rain slickers stand right next to the ocean and tell you over and over how vitally important it is for everybody to stay away from the ocean.
Good luck, and remember: Its great living in Paradise.
It's not a great idea to own a retirement or vacation rental property in a hurricane prone location. Not only will you have higher insurance costs but you might suffer extreme damage to your property or worse, to yourself or loved ones. I personally am a premature evacuator and we always choose to leave before the storm gets close. We've tried to concentrate our property holdings in areas that are not subject to hurricanes, like Costa Rica.