When it comes to natural disasters, few are as devastating as severe storms. The aftermath of a major storm can be overwhelming, leaving you with property damage and even health problems. However, if you follow these tips, you'll have a much easier time dealing with the damage caused by the storm.
Check for Storm Damage
After the storm has passed, it's time to assess the damage. It is easier to do this if you have not been affected by flooding or a power outage. If you're unable to leave your home because of debris, check all doors and windows for structural damage and make sure none are blocked by trees or rocks. Look for water leaks inside your house, especially under sinks and toilets, as well as around electrical outlets near water sources such as leaky pipes or faucets in the walls. Also, check appliances (including stoves) for any signs of damage from water infiltration during heavy rainstorms.
If possible, take photos before removing anything that may have fallen on your property. This will help you determine what should be repaired versus what can be replaced once restoration efforts begin.
Talk with Your Insurance Provider
Once you've assessed the damage and decided that you want to file a claim, the next step is to call your insurance provider. This will likely be a customer service representative with whom you may have interacted in other contexts. Take this opportunity to ask them questions about what's involved in filing a claim and how long it might take for things to get back to normal.
You should also follow up with them if you don't hear back from them after a few days. If they're unable to help or too busy due to storm activity, they'll likely tell you so. If not, politely ask when they expect they'll have time available for follow-up calls.
Contractors can assist you with your damage claims. So, if your roof is damaged, roofing contractors can assist with storm damage claims. They will get in touch with the insurance company and explain the situation to them. Their expertise allows them to be more credible when filing a claim. Contractors can also help assess other damaged areas of the house as per their expertise and inform the insurance provider accordingly/
If you're inside your home, check for gas leaks and electrical issues. Don't use any appliances until you're sure that they've been inspected by a professional electrician or plumber. You may want to hire a professional to check for mold growth, as well as structural damage (such as cracks) in your home's foundation and walls.
Call professional help immediately if you suspect fire hazards like downed power lines blocking access roads or fallen power poles. These are too dangerous for you to inspect by yourself. Without professional help, it’s too risky to try and assess these situations.
Calculate the Cost of Home Repair
Now that you know what the damage looks like, it's time to figure out how much it will cost to repair. You'll need to consider all of the following:
- Materials: The cost of materials is what most homeowners will focus on first. However, don't forget about other costs, such as delivery and installation fees or extra labor if your contractor needs an assistant. Typically, these things are not included in a quote but will affect your final bill significantly.
- Labor: The hourly rate for a contractor varies greatly depending on their experience level and location. If you're hiring a subcontractor, keep in mind that their rates vary widely based on their specialty (for example, roofing versus plumbing). Ask around for referrals from friends and family before choosing one person over another. This will give you some idea of what kind of experience they have had with similar jobs.
Check with your insurance provider to see whether or not the repair costs are covered by the insurance itself. Otherwise, you’ll have to manage additional funding from outside, which can be tricky, especially if your community has just been hit by a natural disaster.
Make Plans for Temporary Living Arrangements If Necessary
If your house is uninhabitable, make plans for temporary living arrangements. You may not be able to stay in your home for a few days or weeks, depending on the damage.
If you have family or friends who live nearby and are available to host you, consider staying with them temporarily. If not, there are other options like renting a hotel room or staying at a shelter until things get back to normal. Another option is to rent a trailer from RV (recreational vehicle) dealerships.
Start the Clean-Up Process Carefully
The clean-up process can be dangerous. You need to be careful of the damage, the products you use, and your tools. The people you hire should also be careful because they're going to be working on your house where you live. So, they must know what they're doing and how to do it safely.
You also want to ensure that the time spent cleaning up doesn't interfere with work or family obligations. So, making sure everyone knows their roles is key to keeping things running smoothly during this stressful time in your life.
If you’re dealing with a damaged house after a storm, don’t panic. It’s all about staying calm and making the right decisions at the right times. Ensure these things, and you can recover from this situation quickly and properly.