To help residents in the path of Hurricane Florence, U-Haul is providing 30 days’ free self-storage at certain locations. (Photo: U-Haul)

When a hurricane hits, storm damage to personal property can be devastating. Homeowners are often advised to move valuable items ahead of the storm, but reviewing the many options can be a challenge. Some homeowners rent storage containers to keep in their driveways, such as the containers from PODS or 1-800-PACKRAT. But the furniture in the driveway may still be in harm’s way. Another alternative is self-storage.

To help residents mitigate the risk to their property, U-Haul announced that 10 U-Haul Companies across the Carolinas and Virginia are offering 30 days of free self-storage and U-Box container usage at 94 facilities to residents who stand to be impacted by the heavy rains and extreme winds associated with Hurricane Florence.

Related: Some hurricane damage can be avoided: Advice to pass on to homeowners

Limiting risk and damage

The Category 4 storm is expected to make landfall Thursday, but moving valuable items such as art and pianos today and tomorrow could help mitigate risk. The governors of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have declared states of emergency and thousands of residents are preparing for the approaching storm.

“People are preparing to leave their homes, creating an immediate need for secure locations where evacuees can bring the possessions they wish to protect,” said Doug Weston, U-Haul Company of Western North Carolina president. “As a member of these communities, we are in a position to help by providing this service to our friends who are in harm’s way.”

U-Haul Companies of Central North Carolina, Charlotte, Coastal South Carolina, Northern Virginia, Richmond, South Carolina, Southern Atlantic Coast, Southern Virginia, Tidewater and Western North Carolina have made 94 facilities across four states – including Georgia – available for assistance.

Families needing more information about the 30 days’ free self-storage assistance should check the company’s website or contact the nearest U-Haul store to confirm participation.

In August, U-Haul made the same offer of 30 days’ free self-storage to residents affected by the severe flooding in Greater Milwaukee and other regional areas.

Before making a final decision on whether to move your household goods and where to keep them, be sure to call your insurance agent or broker to understand what your policy says and what coverage you have available. Also, be sure you read the storage unit contract carefully so you understand any limits or exclusions.

Related: Florence approaches: 11 things you can do to prepare for hurricane winds