You can’t control the weather, but you can make sure you take the right steps after a storm hits your home. Home storm restoration can be a costly and time-consuming process, but the right decisions can help you avoid setbacks. This advice will help you recover from storm damage and restore your home.
Take Photos Before the Storm Hits
While your home insurance policy can help cover repair costs, it isn’t always easy to prove that damage was caused by a storm. If you know a storm is coming, try to take plenty of pictures before the storm hits. That way, you’ll have photo evidence of your home’s condition before the storm.
If possible, take photos of the inside and outside of your home. Try to capture pictures of the parts of your home that are most likely to sustain damage, like windows and doors. It’s also a good idea to snap some shots of your walls and ceilings to show that they’re free of water stains.
People often need roofing services after a storm, but you shouldn’t try to climb your roof before a storm hits. Instead, you should take some pictures from the ground. You may also want to look for receipts or paperwork from recent roof repairs.
Covering the cost of home storm restoration can be challenging, which is why you should collect plenty of evidence to support your claim. There’s not always time to take pictures before a storm. However, if you can safely shoot some pictures, recent photo evidence is tough to argue with.
Be Aware of Hazards
While your home usually keeps you safe and secure, a storm has the potential to create many hazards. Make sure you stay away from flood water, even if it’s not very deep. If you’re evacuating your home, avoid driving through flooded areas. Your vehicle could stall in the water or be swept away.
If you lose power and you don’t have a backup generator, try to avoid using candles as a source of light. Candles can be a fire hazard, especially if you fall asleep without putting the candle out. Instead, you can use flashlights to get the light that you need.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can be a major risk after a storm. Before the storm, check to make sure your home’s carbon monoxide detector is working. If you smell gas at any time, or if you have reason to suspect a gas leak, turn off your main gas valve and leave your home once it’s safe to do so.
Even if your plumbing is working, you should avoid drinking tap water after a storm unless you know that it’s safe. If you don’t have bottled water available, you can boil tap water to remove contaminants. Pay close attention to safety updates so that you’re aware of hazards like downed power lines after the storm ends.
Assess the Damage Right Away
You should closely follow safety instructions during a storm. Depending on the severity of the storm, you may be asked to take shelter in a safe location or evacuate your home. When it’s possible for you to safely explore your home, it’s a good idea to take a look around and review the damage to your home.
Check your windows for damaged frames or broken glass. Step outside to see if your siding or outdoor appliances have been damaged. Keep an eye out for missing shingles, granules, or other signs of roof damage. Make sure you take pictures and document all the storm damage you see.
Show extreme caution when assessing certain parts of the home, like the basement. If your basement is flooded, this space could be filled with standing water. Walking through standing water could expose you to contaminants and even put you at risk of electrocution. Instead of trying to see the damage up close, open your basement door and take a few pictures without walking downstairs.
Inspect as much of your property as you can, keeping an eye out for broken glass. If you do have broken windows, make sure you board them up until they can be repaired by home storm restoration professionals. This can help prevent additional damage to your home.
Notify Your Insurance Company Immediately
Before you pick up the phone to call a local roofer or a water damage service, you should contact your insurance company to inform them of the damage. If you hire professionals without talking to your insurance company first, they may not agree to cover the damage. Your insurer will assign you a representative that will guide you through the claims process.
When you file your claim, you’ll have the opportunity to submit the photos you’ve taken of the damage, which should help speed up the claims process. If the damage is severe, your insurer may also send out a claims adjuster to assess the damage in person. You may also be given a list of emergency repair services in your area.
It can take time for insurance claims to be approved, and contacting your insurance company immediately can help speed up the process. If there are expenses you have to cover out of pocket before your claim is approved, such as hotel stays or emergency repair costs, make sure you save the receipts. You may be able to request reimbursement for some of these expenses later on.
Take Steps to Prevent Additional Damage
Since your insurance policy will only cover damage caused by the storm, you should take additional precautions to prevent additional damage to your home. Use a tarp to cover leaks. If you have power, use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from your home. This can help keep mold from growing and spreading throughout your home.
It’s also a good idea to step outside and check your gutters. If your gutters are clogged, they won’t be able to divert water away from your roof, which could lead to basement flooding, foundation damage, and other issues. Clean out your gutters and clear away debris that could cause another clog.
As mentioned above, you should board up doors, windows, and any other areas that could let water, wind, and outdoor pests into your house. Plywood is usually used to board up windows, but if you don’t have any on hand, you can use cardboard as a substitute. Make sure you wear gloves, goggles, and other protective gear so that you won’t be injured by shards of glass.
When you’re calling repair companies, prioritize repair work that could prevent further damage. Repairing leaks and water damage should be your top priority. After the emergency repairs have been taken care of, you can move on to other home storm restoration projects.
Find a Safe Place to Stay
Leaks, flooding, and damage to electrical wiring can put your household at risk. If your home was badly damaged in the storm and needs extensive repair work, you should stay elsewhere until it’s safe. It’s best to check into a hotel or crash with friends or family if you have doubts about the safety of your home.
If possible, hire a professional that can inspect your home and identify safety risks. Find out what kind of repairs need to be done before you can return to your home. From there, you should stay elsewhere until you’re sure your home is safe. Home storm restoration can take time, and you may need to leave your house for a few days or more.
While it can be helpful to pack clothing and supplies to get you through the next few days, you shouldn’t put your safety at risk to grab these items. If you know a storm is coming, or if you live in an area that sees a lot of storms, pack an emergency bag ahead of time. Keep this bag in your car or another safe location so that you can quickly grab it when it’s needed.
Find Dependable Contractors to Handle Repairs
Once you’re ready to start repair work, you should make sure you hire a contractor that you can rely on. Whether you need the services of a roofing contractor, a demolition contractor, or other restoration professionals, you should work with a dependable company that will communicate with you throughout this process. Reviews can help you find some of the most trustworthy contractors in your area.
Reach out to the contractors you’re interested in working with. Make an appointment for them to look at your home and assess the damage. The contractor should provide you with an estimate for repair costs. Take that estimate to your insurance company and decide how to proceed.
If your home needs a wide range of repairs, you may find it helpful to work with a company that specializes in home storm restoration. Working with a company that offers several types of repairs can save you time and money. If the company outsources certain repair tasks, find out more about the contractors they partner with before you commit to working with them.
While you may feel frustrated or overwhelmed in the aftermath of a storm, repairs aren’t something that you should put off. Many types of storm damage can become worse over time. By acting quickly, you’ll be able to prevent further damage and restore your home.
Document All Your Expenses
It’s common for home storm restoration contractors to work directly with insurance companies. With that said, you may wind up covering certain expenses out of pocket. If your home needs emergency electrical work, you may have to hire a contractor before your claim is approved. You may also have to cover hotel stays, meals, and other expenses yourself.
Keep receipts for every expense that comes up as your home is restored. Send these receipts to your insurance company immediately. While you shouldn’t assume that you’ll be reimbursed for every expense, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to get back some of the money later on. Save receipts for every expense you rack up, even if you’re not sure that the expense will be covered by your insurance company.
If your insurance company denies your claim or refuses to cover certain repairs, you should receive a letter that explains the reason for the denial. You’ll have a limited amount of time to file an appeal and ask your insurer to approve the claim. If your insurance company refuses your claim initially, saving your receipts can help you get your money back if they approve it later on.
Take Steps to Prevent Future Damage
Home storm restoration is a big undertaking. After repairs are complete, you should take additional precautions so that you can keep your home safe during future storms. Make sure that your home is properly insulated and that your doors and windows are fully sealed.
It’s also a good idea to clear away debris on your property that could potentially become a projectile. You may want to rent a dumpster from a container service. They’ll drop off the dumpster at your home and use a heavy hauler to carry it away once it’s full.
If you have trees on your property, work with a tree service to prune away branches that are dead or dying. Tree limbs frequently cause storm damage. Caring for your trees can keep them healthy, and it could also keep your home safe during a storm.
In addition to protecting your home, you should take steps to keep the people that live in your household safe. Create a storm safety plan that you can follow when the next storm arrives. Your loved ones are irreplaceable, and their safety should always be your number one priority during a storm!
It can be upsetting to see your home damaged by an intense storm. If you’re in this position, take a deep breath and focus on finding the best home storm restoration solutions. Storm damage can usually be repaired, and in time, your home should be restored to the condition it was in before the storm.