When it comes to dealing with storm damage to your home, there are several things you need to do. Check out our guide here to learn more.
In 2019, the U.S saw 18 named storms, six medium-sized hurricanes, and three horrific hurricanes.
It’s likely you and your family were affected by these natural disasters and your home may have suffered storm damage. Seeing the destruction is overwhelming but there are steps to ensure your household and property are safe.
Don’t know what they are? No worries, we’ve got you covered. Here are seven steps to take after storm damage.
1. Stay Safe
After a storm, it’s crucial you stay safe as there are still potential dangers.
Listen to the radio for instructions and don’t venture outside until it’s been declared to do so. When you’re outside, don’t swim, wade in floodwaters, and stay away from downed power lines and damaged trees. When you see power lines, stay 10 feet away and alert the police and utility company so they can handle it.
You should also make sure power is turned off, so if you do enter the water, you aren’t electrocuted. If you smell gas from a potential leak, shut off the main gas line, open the windows, and go outside. Call the company and authorities so they can remedy the situation and guarantee that it’s safe to re-enter.
Check-in with your neighbors and don’t drive through the flooded streets. It’s important to only operate generators in a ventilated space and open windows if you have water damage in your home.
2. Call Federal Assistance
If you’re unsure what do you do after a storm, call the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Their job is to offer temporary housing, help with repairs, provide meals, and help with insurance claims. If the storm wreaked havoc on your entire neighborhood, a representative is likely visiting your area so ask them for advice.
3. Document the Damage
Once the storm has passed, you must document any damage if your insurance covers certain areas.
Snap photos of mold, shattered drywall, or exposed power lines so you can show the insurance company. Hang on to receipts and documents related to any recent maintenance or new appliances you purchased before the storm.
You should also focus on your roof as it’s likely been affected during the storm. For instance, heavy debris may have fallen through it, there may be leaks or broken shingles.
Without putting yourself at risk, safely remove debris from the roof and gutters so the water flows away from your property. Inspect your windows and doors for cracks, holes, or destroyed frames as they’re susceptible to wind damage.
Check your outdoor appliances like air conditioning units and see whether they have any dents and still function. If you live in a storm-prone area, take photos of your home in its normal state so the insurance company can consider the hurricane damage before and after.
4. Contact Your Insurance Provider
Before contacting this insurance attorney, refer to your homeowner insurance policy so you know what’s covered and what isn’t.
Once you show them evidence of the damage, the provider will give you instructions on how to make a claim for storm damage repairs and give you a list of local emergency providers. The amount you pay out depends on your deductibles, the age of your building, the extent of damage, and property values in your neighborhood.
Most companies agree storms are out of your control so they can’t ask you for rate increases. But you must file claims in a timely manner otherwise the company may not cover you and your neighborhood’s rate may increase after a disaster.
Your insurance company will also answer questions about your claims and see if the damage repair is covered by your plan.
The process can take several months but the insurance company will cover everything once you’ve paid your deductible. Homeowner insurance may not cover flooding, so if yours is flooded, contact your flood insurance company instead.
5. Avoid Additional Home Damage
Your home may still be exposed after the storm. For example, if water or wind is entering your home through a broken window then board it up as soon as possible.
If not, call an emergency service to make quick repairs so your home isn’t damaged further.
6. Clean Up After the Storm
After clearing as much as (safely) possible, decide whether you want to remain there until your home is properly restored.
Stay with friends or in a hotel until your home is properly inspected. Take a few days of clothes and supplies but remember to only take necessities otherwise you could put yourself at risk.
7. Find a Contractor to Restore Your Home
Before signing a deal with any contractor, find a reputable one through the local homebuilder’s association. If not, they may do further damage to your home which could put your household at risk.
Ask several contractors for bids to understand how much work has to be done and which materials are necessary. Tell them about any water damage or mold so they can deal with it immediately to avoid extra damage.
Those Are Our Storm Damage Tips
Now you know what to do regarding storm damage.
Stay safe after the storm passes by boarding up windows, avoiding fallen trees, and turning off the generator if your home is flooded. Document your home’s damage through photos and videos so you can give the evidence to your insurance company.
Once sorted, hire a reputable contractor to restore your home to its former glory. Good luck!
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