Storms are a typical weather event for almost every region in the United States, but some areas are more susceptible to severe storms than others. Even if you’re located in a generally calmer part of the states, a particularly strong storm can cause acute but severe damage to your property. Damaged roofs, waterlogged basements, and utter destruction of your home could occur with a single strong storm such as a tornado. Whether you’re at risk for a severe storm due to your location or are simply just preparing for a worst-case scenario that likely will never happen, you’ll want to check out these tips on filing for property damage with your insurance company after a storm event.
Know Your Policy
Homeowner’s policies are generally all alike in that many of them cover damages due to the following:
Ensure Safety and Document Damage
Storms and other weather phenomena can render your living situation unsafe. Know that your insurance policy may pay for temporary relocation costs, but be sure to hire a professional storm inspector to assess the damage and ensure your safety before you proceed. Roof, window, and structural damage can all create an unsafe living environment.
In addition, other damage such as exterior damage to paint and siding can rack up costs for you and your insurance company. After the storm passes, treat your home like it's a crime scene: before moving anything, take plenty of photos and/or video, inside and out. You’ll want to carefully document all damages, and keep your documentation well-organized for when it comes time to report to your insurance company.
Temporary repairs are likely a ‘must’ before your claim is settled, so before you do your repairs, ensure that you’ve recorded everything thoroughly. Cover broken windows, patch leaky roofs, and clean up debris where possible. If you choose to hire a contractor, make sure that they aren’t a ‘storm chaser’, which is a type of contractor who goes to areas hit by storms and tries to take advantage of homeowners who don’t know any better. Always look for licenses and reviews. Your contractor should have extensive experience working with insurance companies and, thus, should be able to help you navigate the process of getting repairs paid for and completed. Regardless, it's a good idea to get any quotes approved before proceeding with work on your property. Save all receipts, including those from any temporary repairs made to your home.
Don’t let the damage from a storm outlast the natural event itself.