With such close proximity to Lake Michigan, the Manitowoc area can get hit with awful storms — especially during the summer. It’s up to you to protect your family from harm and your home from severe damage.
Still, even after trimming overhanging branches from nearby trees, keeping your gutters clean, removing everything from your lawn and porch, and shuttering your windows … storm damage can occur.
The following outlines how to properly handle the aftermath of a terrible storm. This includes how to speak with your insurance agent, hire a contractor, and promptly repair the damage.
Step 1: Locate the Damage
Whether you evacuated your home during the storm or hunkered down in your basement, the first step after any serious inclement weather is to assess the damage.
Walk around your home’s interior and your outdoor property. It’s best to take a video camera or a regular camera with you (smartphones work too). Document any damage you see — large or small. Use caution and always put safety first. If you see any down power lines near your home, do not attempt to touch or move them. Stay far away from them, and contact the authorities right away. You may need to contact your electric company or phone company simultaneously.
In and around your home, if you notice other damage that needs to be taken care of right away, put safety first. Once safety has been established, do your best to repair the problem temporarily. If this requires purchasing any materials or tools, keep your receipts. Ideally, you’ll be reimbursed by your insurance company later on.
Step 2: Give Your Insurance Agent a Call
Your insurance agent will be pleased to know that you’ve documented any damage done to your home and have prevented further damage by fixing immediate problems. The sooner you can show the documentation of the damage to your insurance agent, the better. An agent will also come to your property to inspect the damage in person. Walk the agent through your property, being sure that all affected areas are well documented.
After a severe storm in the area, you may have all sorts of destruction, such as flooding in your basement, tree branches on your roof, broken windows, ripped off siding, and other damaged property. Keep in mind that your insurance policy will cover not all of this.
Most of the time, flooding is not covered, for instance. If you want flooding coverage, this needs to be purchased separately. On the other hand, wind damage coverage is the most common type of storm coverage for any type of homeowners insurance policy.
Step 3: Hire a Legitimate Contractor for the Repair Work
Unless you plan on doing the repair work yourself, your next step will be to hire a contractor. Often, insurance agencies will have a preferred contractor in the area they like to work with. Whether you go with this contractor or someone else, you need to have their estimate approved before moving forward.
In order to do this, call a local contractor and make an appointment to get an estimate. This should be provided for free.
Make sure the contractor you hire is licensed, has liability insurance, and is from your local area. Don’t hire “storm chasers” who will give you a “great deal” for shoddy workmanship.
These contractors follow the aftermath of storms and scam homeowners like you who have had damage done to their home. They won’t do a good job (or any job at all) and may even skip town with your upfront payment.
Terp Family Insurance of wants to help you protect your home from severe storm damage and the ensuing expenses. Stop in or call us today to discuss our policy and coverage options.