What To Do After Major Storm Damage
The power of nature can be devastating when it takes the form of storms and natural disasters. At best, storms are messy and inconvenient. At worst, storms can damage or destroy property and place humans and animals in potentially deadly situations. After a storm passes through your town, it can be shocking and difficult to know what to do.
If you’re facing major storm damage in Wellington, you’re probably wondering about what your next move should be. Rest assured, many homeowners find themselves overwhelmed and confused when storm damage their homes.
For this reason, we will cover a few basic steps to follow when your home has been damaged by a recent storm.
Move to Safety
If your home sustained major storm damage in Wellington, the most important step to take is moving yourself, your family, and your pets to safety. Severe storm damage can make a home uninhabitable. If a home has severe storm damage, staying in it could increase the risk of becoming stick or injured. To avoid this, it is important to find a safe, dry place to take shelter. You might choose to room with family or friends nearby or secure long-term arrangements at a local hotel.
In some cases, homeowner’s insurance policies will cover the cost of obtaining shelter while your home is being repaired.
Make a Record of the Damage
When the storm has passed and it’s relatively safe to approach your home, perform a walkthrough and take photos of the damage. You might also want to record video evidence to showcase the extent of the destruction that occurred.
It is most important to stay safe when walking through your home after a storm. However, record as much evidence as you can without putting yourself in harm’s way. This way, you’ll have compelling information to show your insurance adjuster later.
If possible, search through your photo albums or online storage to see if you have photos of your home before the storm. This way, you’ll be able to make an accurate comparison between the two conditions.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to create a list of the items in your home that were either lost or destroyed during the storm. If your homeowner’s insurance policy covers damaged furniture and personal possessions, providing a list of what you’ve lost will be helpful. If you can find prices and receipts for the items lost, there’s a better chance that they’ll be covered.
Contact Your Insurance Company
After documenting the damage done to your home, contact your insurance company and file a claim. A homeowner’s insurance policy will usually cover the cost of repairing damages brought on by storms.
Remain available and in contact with your agent or representative. They will guide you through filing a claim and the next steps to taking care of the storm damage. The process involved in getting storm damage repairs taken care of can be tedious so be sure to cover all of your bases when preparing to have repairs done.
Prevent Further Storm Damage
If possible, take steps to prevent further damage from affecting your property. For example, cover broken windows with plastic sheets, or place a tarp over a leaking roof. You might be able to block off flood waters as well. However, if the house experienced significant flooding, pumping out flood water might be easier said than done.
Do what you can to protect your home, but avoid putting yourself in harm’s way while doing so.
Keep Track of Storm Damage Repair Documents
As mentioned above, having storm damage repairs or storm damage restorations done can be a hassle. A good deal of paperwork is usually involved, and you will likely need to speak with several insurance representatives, adjustors, contractors, mortgage professionals, and more.
Keep track of the names, businesses, contact information, and paperwork associated with each individual involved in your home repair.
Avoid accepting any sort of verbal agreement and request everything in writing. Keep all of your documents in a safe area where you can easily access the records you need later.
Work with Storm Damage Specialists
In some cases, your insurance company might recommend a reputable contractor to perform necessary repairs or oversee a restoration project. In other cases, the insurance company will have you search for and choose repair professionals to restore your home.
Either way, research the options available for repairing storm damage in Wellington. To make the best choice in contractors, look for companies that
- operate locally
- have experience repairing storm-damaged homes
- can provide at least three references
- know how to work with insurance claims
- have been in business for years
- can present proof of licensure and insurance coverage
- have a positive reputation and good (or great) third-party reviews
To be sure you’re getting an accurate impression of a contractor’s reputation and quality, check for reviews on independent websites like Yelp, Google Business Reviews, Angi, Consumer Affairs, the Better Business Bureau, HomeAdvisor, or FourSquare.
During the time spent researching your options, you might come into contact with contractors who don’t exhibit good customer service. If a contractor or their representative hesitates to answer your questions, won’t provide their license number (or their business address), offers you an incredibly cheap quote, or seems rude and dismissive, move on. The last person you want repairing your home is someone who might not even be qualified to perform the work.
Find a contractor that is personable, responsive, informed, and established.
Anyone whose home has sustained major storm damage knows how frustrating it can be to initiate storm damage repairs. The situation is never ideal and the stress and sadness you’re dealing with on top of the damage done to your home can be overwhelming.
However, if you proceed carefully and keep track of each step of your response plan, you’ll get through this struggle. Take a moment to appreciate that your family is safe and remind yourself that your home is going to be repaired. After all the irritation and hassle involved in storm damage restoration, you’ll be able to return to a safe, damage-free home.
As always, SERVPRO of Wellington South is here for all of your storm damage repair needs. Call us 561-800-3450.