Storm systems just keep getting worse and worse. The past few years have seen a number of huge storms strike cities across the country. And with the arrival of the El Nino this year, storms are only expected to get worse.
These storms can be dangerous, debilitating, and cause great damage to your home and the surrounding areas. You’ll want to take as much precaution to protect your home and your family before such a storm hits the ground.
But even if you’ve done everything you can possibly do, there still may be great damage done to your home. What do you do if your home has experienced storm damage? Read on, and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.
Use Extreme Caution
There’s an obvious desire after a storm to get things back to a state of normalcy as soon as possible. But it’s important to not rush and take extreme care and caution following a storm.
Storm conditions and their aftermath can create dangerous conditions. Fallen power lines may still be live. Sharp and dangerous exposed glass or wood may be hidden under the surface of water or just out of sight.
It’s important when surveying damage to your home that you take the proper steps to protect yourself. It’s advisable to pack up some clothes and stay with friends and family until you’ve properly inspected the damage to your home.
You should always have a professional check for hazards before returning to your home.
Common Areas Damaged By Storm
Both the inside and outside of your home may have been affected by storm conditions. Damage could happen anywhere. But if you’re looking for potential damage, there are a few commonly affected areas that you should check.
The Interior Of Your Home
The foundation of your home is especially vulnerable to storm damage. Water seepage can cause infiltrate the foundation of your home and cause expansion or leakage. This can be seriously damaging.
When looking for foundation damage, keep an eye out for large cracks in the floor or walls of your home’s basement. Any signs of leaking? That’s also a dead giveaway that there’s trouble.
The ceilings and walls of the interior of your house are also other common sources of trouble. Water damage usually reveals itself in the form of water spots or discoloration on these surfaces. As above, if any of your ceilings are leaking water, you can bet that some serious damage has been done.
Strong storm winds can also blow out window panes and shatter glass, if strong enough. Be careful to inspect each window in your home for damage, especially around the frame, which can become dented and warped.
The Exterior Of Your Home
When it comes to the exterior of your house, roof and siding should be the first areas you check. Broken, cracked or missing shingles are common following a storm. So is damage to soffits & fascias which may have rotted or become discolored.
Your yard itself may be flooded and trees may have been uprooted and fallen over. If a storm was particularly powerful, it may have even carried debris and objects from other yards and areas into your yard. Removing old and potentially hazardous trees prior to a storm is always a good idea.
Do another double check on your windows and frames from the outside as well. Cracks, chips, and breaks are smaller signs of damage that could still pose threats to your home later on.
Filing For Assistance And Insurance
Once you’ve assessed the damage to your home, it’s time to start the process of repairing and returning to normalcy. You’ll likely need assistance as you begin this process.
Obtaining Government Assistance
If you’ve experienced a significant amount of damage as the result of a storm, you may be eligible for support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.
FEMA provides a variety of assistance to those affected by natural disasters. They can provide you with temporary housing, meals, repairs, and assist your family in filing insurance claims. Locate your local FEMA office to see if you’re eligible and what help you can receive.
Filing An Insurance Claim
As you start the process of filing an insurance claim, it’s important to document and keep a detailed record of all damage done to your home. This documenting should be done as soon following a storm as possible.
Take multiple photos of any signs of damage to your home. Document potential problems such as fallen powerlines or mold. It’s a good idea to have pictures of your home ready from before the storm so that you can compare and contrast to better show the damage done.
With photos in hand, reach out and contact your insurance representative. This representative should be able to walk you through what kinds of damage in your home they will cover. For example, many insurance policies don’t cover damage as a result of flooding. For flood damage, you’ll need to coordinate with your flood insurance representative.
Dealing with multiple insurance agents can be stressful and time-consuming. But these agents should help you identify, repair, and cover the damages done to your home. This process can sometimes take up to several months depending on your current insurance provider.
Recovering From Serious Storm Damage
It can be difficult and time-consuming to recover from the damage that a serious storm can cause. A bad storm can take up to a year to recover from and incur a serious financial cost.
Understanding the steps needed to bounce back and compensate for storm damage is important for any serious homeowner to know. By following the above steps, you can begin to slowly walk back to normalcy and stability in your home.
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