What Do I Need to Do After A Storm?
After a tornado or other severe weather event, your first step is to make sure that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. Next, comes the task of assessing the damage to your property and then getting that property repaired.
You should begin by contacting your insurance company to let them know you’ve suffered property damage. This is the first step to begin the repair and/or rebuilding process. Also, be careful to avoid being injured by the debris and hazardous conditions that may exist after a storm.
Below is a list of recommended steps to take to start your recovery from a severe weather event:
- Be sure your property is safe before returning. Shut off your gas and electricity for safety. If needed, contact city work crews for assistance.
- Contact your insurance company/agent. The sooner you can contact your insurer, the sooner an insurance adjuster can arrive to begin assessing damage and start the recovery process.
- Assess and note the damage to your home. Take photos or video of your home to record the damage and show your insurance adjuster. After a tornado, if you have a video or photo inventory of your belongings, share that with your adjuster.
- Make temporary repairs, if possible, if it will help to prevent additional damage to your home.
- Make note of all communication, dates, phone calls, visits, receipts, repairs and paper work with your insurer and building contractor. Provide your insurer with all information needed to process your claim.
- If you disagree with the amount of damage found by your insurance adjuster, you have options. Ask to speak with the adjuster’s supervisor for a second opinion. Work with a reputable building contractor who can compare the cost of labor, materials and overall repair.
- Get more than one estimate when hiring a building contractor. Get everything in writing including costs, work to be done, time schedules, guarantees, payment schedules and other expectations. Never pay a contractor in full or sign a certificate of completion until the work is finished. Never let a contractor discourage you from contacting your insurance company.
- Avoid outside solicitors who may do shoddy work or take your money without performing the repairs.
- If your home is destroyed, ask your insurer about reimbursement for additional living expenses (ALE), if you have the coverage in your policy. Make sure your address is visible from the street and notify your agents, neighbors and relatives on where you can be reached.
As always, we urge you to check your insurance coverage at the beginning of each year to make sure you have sufficient coverage for your home and its contents.