Unfortunately, weather events are highly damaging all over the country. Different areas have to deal with climate-specific disasters every year, from hurricanes and snowstorms to mudslides and tornadoes. These storms are becoming more frequent, so it’s vital that you have a plan and know what to do if your home has been damaged during a storm.
Here are the steps you need to take after a destructive storm hits your home or property.
1) Stay Safe, Stay Calm
It’s easier said than done, but damaged homes are unstable and unsafe, so it’s best not to go running through the property and panic. If you’re still in the house, find a safe pathway and stay out. Watch your step! Broken glass, nails, and displaced screws are all standard after any storm damage. Your walls or roof may also be compromised and in danger of collapsing, so watch out for any cracks or signs that these might cave in.
Be aware of gas leak signs. Gas lines are another common fixture affected by heavy weather and home damage. If you smell gas, turn off the gas line to your home or call for help quickly. Look for downed power lines and always assume they are live — stay at least 10 feet away. Don’t step in standing water, and don’t light any matches until you’re sure it’s safe, as you don’t know where there may be gas leaks.
Once the storm has entirely passed, you can begin looking for the damage. You’ll have to stay calm and organized through the following steps, but remember that it’s likely your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover a majority of the damage.
2) Start Taking Photos Immediately
When you’re sure everyone is safe, you can take photos around the property. Luckily, this is no longer a difficult task with quality smartphones. Take as many pictures from various angles as you can. This is evidence for the insurance company. You should focus on getting photos of broken walls, doors, shingles, or other structural damage. Stay safe while doing this! You should only take photos of areas you can actually access without being harmed. The insurance company will eventually send an adjuster to take photos of any damage you can’t access right away.
It’s also important to get pictures of damaged electric appliances (like AC units) and your personal property if it was destroyed or affected by the storm. Note and photograph any moisture damage after a flood or hurricane, as water can ruin carpets, seep under the walls, lead to mold, etc. If there’s fire damage, it’s vital to document everything, including down electrical wires and power lines.
3) Contact Your Insurance Agent
You should contact your insurance agent as soon as possible after the storm. You’ll have to file a claim and submit all the photographs you took as proof. Depending on what your policy covers, if your home is too damaged to live in, insurance may cover a hotel or temporary housing. Your agent will have to walk you through the following steps, so stay in contact with them until your claim is resolved.
4) Keep Everything Documented
To get the total payout you’re expecting from your insurance company, you must keep everything documented. Note down when you spoke to your agent and filed the claim, keep any receipts for hotels, or any clean-up or construction that has to happen to make your property habitable.
5) Contact a Trusted Remodeling Company
Classic Construction serves Richmond, VA, homeowners after natural disasters of all kinds and understands how stressful the situation can be for families. We make the process of remodeling your home as easy as possible, so you can get back in there and enjoy your space again. Call us at 804-794-5690 or get a free quote online — our friendly staff is waiting to hear from you!