A storm has just blown through your area, and you step outside to assess the damage. Your heart sinks. There has been visible damage that has occurred to your home. This scenario has happened to many homeowners just like you. Heavy winds have caused a tree to fall on your home. Pounding rains have leaked into your home from roof damage. Your basement has flooded in a torrential downpour from what many labeled a “100 year rain.” Your instincts kick in, and you want to jump right in and start repairing the damage. Hold tight. Here are the necessary steps to take after a storm damages your home to ensure you end up with the best possible outcome.
1. Take photos
First and foremost, be safe! Make sure the storm has passed completely. In the case of a fallen tree, keep your distance until you can be certain it’s stable. If the damage includes power or cable lines being yanked down, steer clear. If you are dealing with a flooded basement, stay out of the water. Be careful! It’s not worth hurting yourself or losing your life over material property that can be repaired.
Grab your smartphone or camera, and start taking pictures. Do a video walkaround of your home, highlighting the damage. This is very important documentation that you will need to hand into your insurance company.
2. Stop the bleeding
If you have a situation where an opening has occurred to your home, take some steps to close it. Secure some tarps over the opening to prevent further damage from wind and rain. Cover broken windows with plywood. Get a sump pump and start pulling water out of flooded areas of your home. If you do not have a sump pump or you are looking at an excessive amount of water, call your local fire department to assist.
3. Call your insurance company
Get in touch with your insurance company as soon as you can. Stay in contact with them throughout the repair process as well. Find out what documentation you need to proceed with repairs. Find out if they want multiple quotes for the work that needs to be completed. Remember, your insurance agent is there to help you; that is what they are for.
4. Contact a reputable contractor
A word of caution. Once people see damage to your home, you will have questionable pop-up contractors knocking on your door. Avoid these “fly by night” contractors. They will come in with a low price, quickly do the work, and disappear, never to be seen again. This is simply bad news. Their work is usually shoddy, and if a problem arises down the road, you will not be able to find them to have repairs made. Always go with a trusted local contractor. Gather a couple of quotes even if your insurance company does not require them.