Severe Storm Damage Protocol
It can be challenging to understand what to do after your property, home, and life have been turned upside down by a storm. Your home may not be livable, be structurally sound, and it could be functionally compromised. You should utilize this list as a guideline to take action.
1. Take Pictures – Photograph everything. Before you move, clean, repair or manipulate anything after a severe weather event get EVERYTHING photographed. Doing so will be vital as you move through a claims process. This information will serve as justification for all incurred time, expense, and property to receive compensation from the insurance company.
2. Protect your property – It is essential you do your best to prevent further damage to your property if it is safe to do so. A few of these tasks include tarping holes, removing debris, and boarding up windows and doors.
3. Collect your valuables – Unfortunately, people tend to take advantage of situations that leave us vulnerable. Still, it’s a fact that looting, trespassing, and theft of all kinds occur after an event such as these. That is why it is crucial to collect valuable items (guns, money, jewelry, artwork) and move and store them in a safe, secure storage place.
4. Inventory – Your personal property has likely sustained damage from water and flying debris and should be inventoried, valued, and placed into a list of some sort. It can be challenging to remember everything you own from memory recall, so do this first before you leave the property for an extended period.
5. Keep all receipts/invoices – Keep a file and document all incurred expense for review and consideration.
6. Call your insurance carrier/Alternative Living Expenses – Most policies include coverage for alternative living expenses. These expenses can consist of the meals you eat, hotels, apartments, and even rental homes while you are displaced. They will also pay for boarding your animals in most cases. Get this process underway and find out if you should keep receipts, or in some cases, they may assign you a liaison to spearhead the process for you.
7. Get your claim filed – Make sure your carrier knows you have a filed a claim. They will dispatch an adjuster to get to you as soon as possible, and you want to make them aware as soon as you can.
8. Be Patient – Damage created by a storm of this level can be time-consuming and difficult to scope and estimate. You must understand it may take months up to a year in some cases to get your property back in working order depending on the severity of damage. Engineers, contractors, and insurance companies may need to collaborate to provide resolution and quality restoration to your property.
9. Research your contractor or service provider – It is easy and tempting to hire the first person with a tool belt or a fancy truck to fix your property. It is wise to take some time and research someone who has experience in the industry, knows how to inspect damage, and are dedicated to your project and the process. Check reviews, references, BBB ratings, suppliers, and look for manufacturer accreditations. These items will help you make the right decisions regarding the long process of rebuilding and restoring.
10. Share this with your neighbors – They could be confused, uncertain, and need some help. Sometimes a simple list of what to do can be a world of support in a stressful situation.