If a big storm lands in the Waukesha area, will you know how to handle any damage done to your home? Too many homeowners don’t know essential things about preparing for storms and adequately handling the aftermath. For example, did you know the following?
- As a policyholder, you are expected to prepare your home for storms.
- There is generally a specific window of time after a storm in which you can make an insurance claim. Unfortunately, after that window ends, it will be too late to file a claim.
- Homeowners insurance hardly ever covers flooding; however, most policies cover wind damage.
Continue reading to learn more about recovering from (and preparing for) a severe storm in your neck of the woods.
Your Home Was Damaged by Storm Winds: What Do You Do Now?
The first thing to do after a storm has hit is to make sure everyone in your home is safe and protected. Depending on the type of storm, you may need to evacuate the area and arrange for additional housing in the meantime.
Once you know everyone in your home is safe, take steps to prevent further damage to your home, wherever possible. This is your responsibility of the homeowner’s insurance contract. Preventing further damage may involve putting a tarp over a hole in the roof, for example. Or, you may need to cover broken windows with boards as a short-term fix. What you don’t want to do is to start completely repairing your home — either by yourself or with help from a contractor.
You need to wait for an insurance adjuster to assess its current state. To help with this, take photos and video of the damage, especially if you think it may change by the time your insurance adjuster arrives. It’s important to get the ball rolling on your insurance claim as soon as possible. This simply means contacting your insurance agency to let them know there’s been damage. Go straight to your individual agent if you have one.
Once your agent has been alerted to the damage, hire a contractor. Take your time with this step. Contractors who are able to repair your home should not charge you to create a written estimate.
Always select contractors who you feel have the proper experience, and ask friends, family, or neighbors if you don’t know who to choose at first. The contractor will come out to your home, take a look at its current state post-damage, and give you an estimate, which will outline the prospective repairs and the costs. While you interview a contractor, make sure they are licensed and insured (in writing), and also ensure they are local to the Waukesha area.
Some contractors may be “storm chasers,” and it’s critical to avoid these unscrupulous, so-called “businessmen.” These individuals are ready and willing to complete any type of repair or construction job for a low (often unbeatable) price. On the other hand, they’ll typically request payment upfront, and here’s a tip: They won’t be from the area. If you do pay them upfront, it’s possible you won’t get any work on your home done at all as they’ll often skip town. Alternatively, “storm chasers” may do the job, but it’s likely they won’t do it well. After they leave, you’ll have no one to blame. It’s always better to go with a local contractor.
Our friendly and experienced agents at Carrigan Insurance here to assist you with your homeowner’s insurance needs. Please stop into our office today or call us to find out more.