When a summer storm hits your home, it can be worrisome – and not just because of the thunder and lightning. A severe storm brings strong winds, heavy rain, lightning strikes, hail, and sometimes extensive damage.
After a storm hits, protecting your home or business from further damage and making repairs is a process. It involves documenting the damage for your insurance provider and choosing a reliable, trustworthy contractor. Follow these steps after a storm and get your home back to ship shape quickly.
After a storm hits, don’t go outside right away! If the storm is still nearby, you’ll be putting yourself at risk. Check the local news or listen to the radio to make sure there is no further threat. Be aware that damaged trees and dangling limbs can create more damage, even after a storm has passed. You should also be cautious of broken glass, exposed nails, and downed power lines.
Avoiding standing water is especially important. If a powerline is down nearby, that water could be electrically charged. Should you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the gas at the meter. You should also use a flashlight if you are looking for damage in the dark, not a candle or other open flame.
Assess the Damage
If you have the ability, check on neighbors–especially if they are elderly or incapacitated in some way. As you begin to gauge the damage to your home, document everything before you do anything to begin cleaning up. Take photos or a video and make a list of damaged items. For example, roof damage might include:
- Holes or leaks in the ceiling
- Split seams
- Missing, broken, or dented shingles
- Dents on vents, gutters, or flashing
Look for damage to doors or windows, holes or missing siding, and outdoor appliances, like outdoor air conditioning units.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
Many insurance providers have a time limit on filing a claim, so you’ll want to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible. You can find some of the most common questions to ask your insurance provider here. Provide them with a list of damages and save receipts as you make emergency repairs so that you can submit them to your insurance provider for reimbursement.
It’s also a good idea to get to know your insurance policy and your responsibilities if you are unsure. Find out what is and is not covered under your plan and understand your policy limits and deductibles.
Avoid Further Damage
Once you have documented the damage and contacted your insurance company, you can begin cleaning up. Start by avoiding further damage. If your roof is leaking, cover it with tarps to prevent further damage. Remove any wet rugs or carpet to prevent foundational damage and mold growth; opening windows and running fans will also help with this. If you can do so safely, it’s a good idea to remove any debris from your roof or gutters and make sure downspouts are intact to divert water away from your home.
Find a Contractor to Help You Rebuild
Once you have the immediate damage covered, contact a trusted contractor to help you clean up. Watch out for “storm chaser” companies looking to make a quick buck with shoddy work and a bad reputation. Remember that you have 72 hours to cancel the contract by simply calling them and sending the canceled copy of the contract back to them.
Minnesota Home Improvements has three teams of storm responders located throughout the state and we are ready to respond. We conduct free consultations and storm damage restoration quotes to make quick repairs that protect your home.