Spring is here and you’re ready to shake off the winter blues by hanging out in the sun. Well, if you’re anywhere near the midwest or southeast, then you’re in for a super active tornado season this year. Then, of course, comes hurricane season which, surprise, surprise, is also predicted to be an active one.
Storms can be relaxing and even exciting, but they tend to do a number on houses and cars, alike. If you live in an area that experiences a lot of regular storms, then you need to be prepared to tackle the associated storm damage to your home. Don’t fret if you’re new to this part of homeownership, though.
Read on to learn everything you need to know!
Wait Until It’s Safe to Check for Storm Damage
Any homeowner who has ever heard the disconcerting sound of massive hail hitting the roof knows the anxiety that comes with waiting until the storm is over to get out and check for damage.
It’s difficult, but if it’s not safe to go outside, then it’s not safe to check for damage or put up a temporary fix. This is especially true for storms that involve lightning as lightning can strike several miles away from the storm itself. Wait until you are given the all-clear or until any significant weather advisories have expired.
When you go outside, be sure to be cautious. Avoid downed power lines and standing water, especially if you’re in a vehicle. Check to make sure that you’re not approaching any trees that are damaged or have broken limbs.
Better yet, instead of risking your safety, call a pro to come out and survey your home.
Start With the Most Urgent Items
The first things on your to-do list after you’ve been hit by a storm should be the most urgent items.
If you have standing water in your home, remove all furniture and rugs. Open the windows and doors, if it’s safe, and run a ceiling fan or an industrial fan to help dry out the room. If your roof is leaking and you can safely get to the leak, then cover the source of the leak to prevent additional water from getting in your home before it is repaired.
Be Wary of Solicitors
Whenever there’s a storm that causes any type of hail damage in the area in which you live, you will probably notice an uptick in out-of-town roof repair companies knocking on your door. While they might seem like they have good intentions by proactively visiting your home, they should actually be avoided.
They promise quick results, but they typically ask for a large down payment to get started on the work. Unfortunately, these companies are typically unlicensed and not competent to make the repairs. This leaves you with an even bigger big than the one you started with.
Always opt for a local repair company to avoid this costly mistake.
Document Your Storm-Damaged House
When you’re dealing with storm damage, you want to make sure that you document all of the damage to your home. Insurance companies will need to know what they’re working with in order to get your claims process rolling.
You’ll also want to maintain the photos of the storm damage in the event that there are any issues with the repair or your insurance company gives you a hard time. If you have to pay for anything like hotel costs while the repairs are made, then be sure to save your receipts to submit with your claim.
Check Your Insurance Policy
Before you pick up the phone and schedule an appointment with a local repair company, you should take the time to review your insurance or home warranty.
The first thing you’re going to want to know is whether the damage that was done to your home is even covered. Many insurance companies exclude certain types of storm damage from their coverage or they require you to purchase those types of coverages as an add-on.
For example, most standard policies do not cover flood or earthquake damage. If you want that type of coverage, you will have to add it to your policy in advance. You cannot add it on after the damage has been done.
If it’s not covered, then you will need to proceed to the next step, finding a contractor.
Choose a Contractor
After you’ve contacted your insurance company, your next step is going to be to set up an appointment with a local repair company to fix the damage. Depending on the terms of your insurance, you may not have the option of selecting your own repair company. Many insurance and home warranty companies have vendors with whom they have an existing relationship that will come make the repairs.
That said, if your company doesn’t have a specific vendor or if you have to pay out of pocket, then it’s time for you to do your research. Ask local friends and family about which companies they recommend. You can also talk to trusted co-workers if you’re new to the area.
If you can’t make any headway on finding recommendations from friends or family, then you’ll want to click through local listings for professionals in your area. Don’t forget to read the reviews to get an idea about the quality of their work. It’s also a good idea to have a few different repair companies come out to survey your home and give you a quote for repairs.
Are You Ready for Storm Season?
Storm season is an inevitable part of life for a lot of homeowners in the US. Whether you’re dealing with tornadoes in Mississippi, surprise blizzards in Idaho, or hurricanes on the eastern seaboard, you have to be prepared for what life throws at you, even storm damage. Always wait until it is safe to do your own inspection of your home and don’t hesitate to call a professional if you’re not sure what to do.
Dealing with surprise damage to your home is just one part of being a homeowner. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just closed on your first home, you’re bound to have a few questions about taking care of your home. Check out the rest of our blog for tons of content that’ll make homeownership a breeze!