What to Do When a Storm Damages Your Home

Heavy storms hit homeowners with hassles, headaches, and hazards. Pouring rain can flood your home. Powerful winds can damage your roof and knock down trees. Post-storm damage can jeopardize your health and safety. The total toll taken on your home often depends on the actions you take in the hours and days after the storm hits. From the safety measures to the damage assessment and more—here’s what to do.

Safety first.

Storm-related hazards can lurk inside and outside your home. There are dangerous scenarios to approach with extreme care, especially after heavy floods, high winds, and lightning.

The most perilous pitfalls include downed power lines, collapsed roofing materials, standing water in the basement, jagged windows, exposed nails, flooding, and gas line problems. (If you smell gas, shut off the main gas line and stay out of your home). Keep water damage on your radar, too. Moisture soaked into furniture, carpeting, and building materials creates the perfect environment for harmful mold to grow.

Until you can evaluate the storm damage and restore your home to safe living conditions, consider staying someplace else.

Document the damage.

After you confirm your property safe, grab your smartphone or digital camera and start documenting the damage to your home. Insurance companies need to see proof of the damage in order for you to file a claim. It’s even better to have photos of your house before that big storm hits.

More than just give insurance companies before-and-after shots to compare the damage, pre-storm photos also help rule out any suspicion of you blaming a storm for pre-existing damage.

Either way, hanging on to pictures of the normal state of your house is always a good idea.

Contact your insurance company.

Collect your pictures, contact your insurance company, and meet with an adjuster at your home to figure out what damage is covered and for how much after you meet your deductible.

Most standard homeowners insurance policies cover weather-related damage from hail, wind, fire, and snow—with the exception of floods. However, The National Flood Insurance Program does offer flood insurance policies to some homeowners.

Speak with your insurer—and get everything in writing—before you hire a contractor to repair any damage. Paperwork is crucial for homeowners insurance, so save your receipts and stay organized for your best chance at reimbursement.

What to look for: hail damage.

Hailstorms can demand costly cleanup whether stones are the size of softballs or small pellets. The damage is also easier to detect than other types of storms—hailstones can leave marks around your home and property including dings and dents on cars, outdoor furniture, and more.

Roof damage from hail storms ranges from dented or damaged flashing, gutters, and downspouts, to missing granules, to cracked, broken, or bruised shingles.

Windowsills, window casings, and siding are also vulnerable to damage ranging from dents and dings, to exposed surfaces, to chipped paint and wooden materials.

Hail can also smash or damage the fan blades of an outdoor A/C unit. Hire a professional to inspect for damaged coils or internal parts—and to replace the unit if necessary.

What to look for: wind damage.

Severe windstorms can knock down trees, damage roofs, and blow outdoor furniture across the yard. While you can handle blown away furniture on your own, hire a professional to cut down, grind, and haul away damaged trees and stumps.

Most wind damage happens outside your home. The common culprits include missing shingles, shutters, or siding; cracked, chipped, or split siding, stucco, paint, or wood; and dings and dents on your roofing, siding, door frames, or windowsills. Again, hire a professional to assess and repair windstorm damage to your home.

What to look for: water damage.

Water damage is often harder to detect than hail or wind damage—days or even weeks can pass before you notice. However, water damage is equally destructive.

Standing water in your home can grow harmful bacteria, mold, and parasites. Contaminated water poses an even bigger health risk. Water damage can also spread throughout your home in the form of water spots, discoloration or changes in texture to ceilings, walls, and surfaces; soggy and/or expanding wood; leaks in the ceiling or roof; and a damp, musty odor which could indicate mold growth.

Storm damage—mainly water damage and flooding—can also compromise your home’s structure and foundation. (Water seepage can cause expansion and cracking). The areas most vulnerable to cracks, fractures, and leaks include basement floors and walls, crawlspaces, and masonry/brickwork outside your home.

Water damage to roofing ranges from broken, cracked, or missing shingles, to dented flashing, to missing eaves, overhangs, and other roofing materials. Inspect for splits, cracks, chips, and holes in siding and also for floods and scattered furniture and debris in the yard.

Hire a contractor.

With an estimate from an adjuster and everything in writing, hire a contractor to repair the storm damage. Trust your biggest asset to the hands of Long Island’s most reputable, dependable, quality-driven, and award-winning team. Reach out to King Quality today and discover the royal treatment for you and your home.

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