The most important thing to do after a tornado or large thunderstorm event is to make sure your family is safe. Next, check for any immediate hazards and secure your home. Finally, make plans to assess and repair any damage.
How to Recover After a Severe Storm Hits Your Neighborhood
First thing’s first: If anyone is injured, contact medical assistance right away. You should also check the exterior of your home for possible dangers. There may be broken glass, gas leaks, or downed power lines to be cautious of. If you notice any of these things, notify local authorities immediately.
Once you’ve made sure of the safety and security of your family and home, take a look at any damage done to your house, out-buildings, or property. When it comes to tornadoes and extreme storms, the wind is the biggest cause of damage. For this reason, wind damage is generally what’s covered under standard home insurance plans.
Remember: If you have flooding (for example, in your basement), a standard homeowners policy won’t provide flood coverage. Those who live in areas where flooding may be a common hazard need to purchase additional flood insurance from their agent.
Temporarily Fixing Damage
After a tornado or bad storm, any damage done to your home will generally fall into one of two categories: Either it will be immediately problematic or able to be fixed later on.
Immediately problematic damage includes things like holes in your walls or roof or an outside door that’s been ripped off its hinges. With these, it’s possible that more rain will come in and cause further damage. You might even get looters or criminals making their way into your home.
For this reason, it’s important to fix immediate problems as soon as possible and as well as you can. Later on, you can get a contractor to properly fix these issues. In addition, your insurance company will likely reimburse you for any expenses needed for your temporary repairs (as long as you’ve kept your receipts).
Securing Preapproval for Repairs From Your Insurance Company
Once immediate problems have been taken care of, it’s time to speak to your insurance representative about making a claim. You should also do the following:
1). Ensure you understand your insurance company’s deadline for completing a claim. You won’t have endless time to file and get approved for repairs.
2). Provide your insurance provider with photos and/or video of your home’s damage (use a variety of angles). If possible, it’s best to do this before making any repairs, even if they’re minor and temporary.
3). Schedule a time when an adjuster can meet with you to go over the damage. Make sure to include everything affected by the storm.
4). Start looking for a contractor to hire. Find one who has a license and insurance (liability). Ask how much liability insurance they have. Get references, if needed. Once you find one you like, ask for a written estimate, and show it to your insurance agent.
Avoiding Common Scams
Most Ashland area residents wouldn’t assume that wicked storm damage and scams could together. In fact, there are indeed scammers out there who are interested in taking advantage of your need for a contractor.
Called “storm chasers,” these scam artists come from out of town and swoop in after bad storms to “save the day” by offering low prices on repairs. For this reason, if you spot a contractor with a “too good to be true” estimate, and they’re not from the Ashland area, look elsewhere. It’s possible they’ll take your upfront payment and run or do a terrible job and leave before you can pipe up.
Main Street Insurance wants to help you find and maintain a home insurance plan that works for you. Call us today to learn about our policies and have your questions answered.