Large storms, including hurricanes and tornados, can ravage your home and cause major destruction. In this article, we’ll be discussing the appropriate steps you should take after a severe storm damages your home. This includes ensuring the safety of yourself and your family, contacting your home insurance provider and fixing the damage.
Steps to Take After a Major Storm Damages Your Home
1. Make sure everyone is safe.
Safety comes first, so always account for everyone in your home before taking additional steps. Seek medical attention right away, if necessary.
You should also go slowly and carefully through your home to note any immediately severe damage that could cause harm. Fires and down power wires, for example, should be cordoned off right away, and the appropriate authorities should be notified.
2. Contact your home insurance provider.
This is just a quick call to let your insurance provider know that you’ve had damage to your home because of a storm. During this call, mention the damages you know about, and let your agent know you’d like to start the claims process. They’ll get the ball rolling and should send an adjuster out to your home fairly soon to properly assess the damage.
3. Document the damage yourself, and fix any immediate problems if possible.
Depending on how severe the storm was and what damage it caused, you may or not be able to do this step. For example, if additional storm weather is still approaching or if you need to seek medical attention, you should leave your home and do what you need to.
However, if possible, it’s a good idea to go through your home and document the damage with pictures and/or video. Your home insurance company will appreciate this.
Damage that requires immediate attention should be taken care of right away, if possible. This includes things like broken windows, torn-off doors, or holes in the side of your home. Don’t go to great measures to fix these areas. Rather, simply do what's necessary to avoid additional damage. You might, for example, buy a tarp to cover these open areas. Keep track of your expenses as you may be able to list these when you file your home insurance claim.
If your home is unsafe to occupy, don’t continue to live in the home. Your insurer is often able to help you recoup some of the money you might have to spend on hotels or dining in the meantime.
4. Meet with your adjuster and file a claim.
Lastly, stay in touch with your home insurance provider, and make sure you’re fully aware of your coverage. Ideally, your agent will help you find a legitimate, local contractor to create an estimate of repairs and get your home back to its original state.