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What to Do If Your Home is Damaged in a Natural Disaster

Experiencing home damage from a natural disaster, no matter how big or small, can cause immense emotional and financial strain on homeowners. This type of damage often happens suddenly and if a plan of action hasn’t been put into place, homeowners are at risk of making crucial missteps in getting the repairs they need. Every homeowner should prioritize a plan in case of storm damage. Here are immediate actions you should take after a natural disaster strikes your home.

What to Do If Your Home Is Damaged in a Disaster
Contact Your Insurance Agent

The very first thing you should do is соntасt your insurance agent or company. This should be done as soon as possible after your home has been damaged. Whenever you communicate in any way with a representative from your іnѕurаnсе соmраnу, keep a log of when you spoke, what you spoke about, and the outcomes from those conversations. Is someone going to come inspect the damage? Do you need to provide documentation? When will your agent follow-up? These questions are examples of pertinent information needed while you begin filing your claim.

Choose a Trusted Contractor

As part of your emergency plan, have a trusted contractor chosen prior to any home damage. Seek out a contractor that is qualified in the insurance claims process and can help walk you through your policy. Once an insurance company determines a fair price to fix the damage, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to find a contractor. This makes finding a reputable company prior to a disaster that much more important. After you make the call to your insurance agent, have a reliable restoration company survey the damage and deliver a detailed quote prior to the insurance claims adjuster’s visit. Doing this can move the entire process along faster, and get you and your loved ones back into a fully restored, pre-loss condition home sooner rather than later!

Contact Your Mortgage Servicer

Unfortunately, damage to your home does not stop your responsibility to pay your mortgage. Contact your mortgage agent as soon as possible, and discuss your situation. There may be a number of options available that could help you temporarily suspend or reduce your mortgage payments.

Take Pictures of the Damage

Just as you should document your conversations with your insurance and mortgage companies, you need to visually document the extent of the damage. These pictures may come in handy when acquiring the full funding needed to restore your home to its original condition, or when dealing with your mortgage provider. In a time of crisis, your memory may fail you, so photographs of the damage could be essential evidence when filing your claim and covering anything you may have missed during conversations with your insurance company.

Home damage due to flooding, hail, wind, or other natural disasters will never be a positive experience, however having an action plan in place can ease the hassle of getting your home back to original condition. Contact us today and we’ll help you develop a disaster action plan as your trusted contractor!

Weather Disaster Preparedness

September is National Preparedness Month. It’s a time to think about what you and your loved ones would do if the unthinkable should happen. This year’s theme is, “Don’t wait. Communicate. Make your emergency plan today.” So, if you have been putting off stockpiling that disaster supplies kit, or still haven’t created and practiced an evacuation plan with your family, make September the time to get started.

Here’s a recap of natural disaster tips we’ve discussed here recently to help you prepare.

weather preparedness

Severe Storm Preparedness

Scary weather strikes our state year-round — knocking out power, damaging your home, or worse. One of the best things you can do to prepare your family for severe storms is build an emergency kit. Essential items include:

  • Three-day supply of food and water for each family member
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Moist wipes
  • Garbage bags
  • Wrench or pliers to turn-off utilities to your home
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter, or solar charger

Make sure everyone at home knows where this kit is stored, and knows how to use all of the included items. Consider building smaller kits to store in each of your vehicles.

Flood Preparedness

Did you know that floods are one of the most common and costliest natural disasters? You don’t have to live in a low elevation or next to a body of water to be at risk. If you and your family find yourselves in the midst of a flood, remember this American Red Cross-approved advice:

  • Watch TV if possible, or use your emergency radio or cell phone for updates.
  • Be prepared to evacuate your home at a moment’s notice.
  • If a flood warning is issued for your area, get to higher ground immediately.
  • Don’t return home until officials have declared your area safe.
  • If you smell or hear leaking gas, evacuate the area and call 911.

Visit the Red Cross website to find more preparedness tips for before, during, and after a flood.

Heat & Drought Preparedness

Do you know the difference between a heat watch, a heat warning, and a heat advisory? While all three alerts should be taken seriously, it is important to understand what each means:

  • Excessive Heat Watch – Weather conditions are favorable for extreme heat in your area over the next few days.
  • Excessive Heat Warning – Your local Heat Index values are high enough that bodily harm and even death can occur.
  • Heat Advisory – Temperatures are expected to meet local Heat Index values within the next day or two.

Learn more about weather watches, warnings, and advisories here.

Fire Preparedness

As we keep seeing across the western U.S., fires are dangerous and often unpredictable, and occur in many settings and situations. Protect your property by:

  • Keeping leaves, logs, and other vegetative debris away from your home and outbuildings.
  • Screening in porches and patios with metal wire mesh to help trap ash and embers.
  • Maintaining your lawn with proper hydration and prune trees and shrubs.
  • Making sure grills, fire pits, and chimineas are well away from your home’s foundation.
  • Inspecting roofing tiles and shingles, and repair loose or broken material.

Check out these other fire prevention tips for the whole family.

Snow Storm Preparedness

Indiana is no stranger to heavy snow and below freezing temperatures. Prepare your family for cold weather disasters by:

  • Writing down essential phone numbers for relatives, work, school, etc.
  • Teaching your children about winter-related health dangers like frostbite and hypothermia (warm, loose-fitting, layered clothing is key!).
  • Never operating a portable generator, grill, or camp stove inside during a power outage, and running those devices away from windows and vents outside. Your best bet is to go to the home of a relative or friend, or a public shelter, if your home loses power and/or heat.
  • Bringing your pets inside during heavy snow or other winter weather.

Additional Help & Resources

Contact us or browse our website for more ways to stay safe and prevent disaster. And, if the unthinkable should happen, remember that we’re here for you. This National Preparedness Month, Van Rooy Restoration reminds you: “Don’t wait. Communicate. Make your emergency plan today.”