What to do if Your Home is Damaged by a Storm
So a big storm just ripped through your neighborhood and aside from power going out, you may be oblivious to possible damage. However, once you’re able to asses the damage after the storm passes, you find that your roof has been damaged even worse if you happened to have left the scene prior to the storm you may return to devastation. Whether minor or major you must know the steps on what to do if your home is damaged by a storm. Here are a few easy steps you should follow.
Your Safety Comes First
Depending on the severity of the damage you may need to evacuate your home even before assessing all of the damage. Issues with live wires, gas leaks, weakened structure and more can pose imminent danger. If this is the case your best bet is to seek shelter. If you do not have family or friends you can stay with in your immediate area then a local hotel or Red Cross may be your best best.
Take Pictures/Document the Damage
After your home has been deemed safe be sure to take pictures of the damages. This includes the exterior of the house in addition to the interior. A good rule of thumb is to take pictures from multiple angles to get the best assessment of the damage. If high winds blew debris such as your neighbor’s lawn ornaments damaged your home be sure to take pictures of those as well. In addition to photos document all damage including mold and crumbling walls.
Seek Federal Assistance if There’s Major Damage
If your home was hit with a major storm or catastrophe, federal agencies such as FEMA may be your best option for relief. FEMA particularly is able to assist with temporary housing, meals, repairs and even filing insurance claims. In most cases of large disasters FEMA agents/representatives are usually in hard hit regions fairly quickly.
Secure Your Home
In the event that your home is exposed to the elements due to a damaged roof or broken windows, cover up these areas using tarp, plywood, plastic or any other material that can help prevent further damage. In addition do your best to remove all valuables to prevent thieves from looting your home. The last thing you want is to file an additional claim for stolen items in addition to your damaged home.
Review Your Homeowners Policy
Since you have documented the damage done to your home, you can now compare it to your homeowners insurance to determine if you will be covered. To make the process as smooth as possible be pro-active and obtain quotes for all repairs, have digital photos of the damage ready to send to your agent, and lastly save all receipts for all replacement items to present to your claims adjuster. But don’t file just yet.
Hire a Public Adjuster
To maximize your settlement, hire a public adjuster before filing your claim or have a public adjuster file the claim on your behalf. Public adjusters better understand policies and can present them in a way that will maximize your payout and give you the settlement you deserve. In addition you will be able to focus on making your repairs and everyday life while your public adjuster is fighting on your behalf. No money? No problem, you do not have to pay up front for a public adjuster as they are only paid when you receive a settlement. Lastly even after closing a settlement a public adjuster may even be able to re-open a claim to increase your compensation.
Repair What You Can/DIY
If the damage to your property is minimal than filing a claim may not be necessary. If you are handy with tools DIY projects may be the best bet. Hiring a local contractor/handyman is also a good option as many contractors insure their work.