The storm has passed and the immediate danger is over. Now it’s time to survey the damage and decide on the best course of action. Here are some steps to mitigate further damage and get started with repairs.
First, walk around your property. Inspect your yard, and look at the roof from ground level (your insurer would not ask you to get up on your roof). If you believe you have damage, seek help from a professional to inspect. Keep in mind, damage may not always be visible to the naked eye. If the storm had heavy rains, check for any interior water leakage.
Be cautious of hazards. If you think your property might be unsafe due to storm damage, seek safe shelter elsewhere making sure to respect any civil authority restrictions that may be in place at the time.
Make temporary repairs if needed. As a property owner, it is your job to protect the property from further damage. While you wait for some additional guidance from your insurer, make sure you are taking proper measures to protect the property. If you have an opening in the home, you may have to seek help from a professional to remove tree limbs or put a tarp on the roof. Keep records of costs and information for any temporary repairs conducted.
Inspect your property after every storm. Each storm/loss date should be considered a separate loss occurrence under insurance. A deductible would apply to each separate loss, so it’s important to inspect your property often in order to determine when the damage occurred.
Seek the opinion of a trustworthy source. Be leery of signing commitments or contracts from a repair vendor until you have reviewed any documentation thoroughly and feel you are working with a known and reputable contractor. When in doubt, stick with someone local or someone recommended by friends or family. Your contractor and adjuster may be able to meet at your home to discuss what they see.
Just because your neighbor has damage, you may not. Different factors may result in damage to some materials and not others, such as the age or condition of a roof or other building materials, installation, design, quality, or grade. Tree cover or direction and speed of the weather patterns also affect what materials are damaged. Therefore, a portion of your property or your neighbor’s property may have damage while other materials or sides and roof slopes of the building are unaffected.
Leaving you as good as or better than before. Your insurance carrier may authorize repair or replacement depending on the extent of covered damages. The insurance covers the same type of materials present at the time of the loss. If you would like to upgrade your roof or materials presently in and on your home after a loss, any upgrade charges most likely will be an out-of-pocket cost to you.
The most important thing you can do after a storm is to make sure you and your family are safe. Then contact your insurance agent for help in getting the claims process underway. They will be your best resource to make sure you’re taking the proper steps to repair and recover.