While Mother Nature likes to shake up things a bit, it could wreak all sorts of havoc on your home. And it’s not a question of how much damage your home can sustain; it’s more of when and how you can respond to that.
If your home didn’t weather the storm as expected, breathe because we’ve compiled a white hat guide to lessen your headache. Read on to understand the filing process of a storm damage insurance claim so you can get back on track quickly and hassle-free.
Steps to Filing Your Storm Damage Insurance Claim
Don’t worry about nature’s surprises. Just be sure to:
Assess the Damage and Document Everything
Record the date of the storm and any visible damage you can figure out from the ground. You could take clear photos of damaged items and materials together with an outline of their purchase date and approximate prices.
Here’s a heads up: search online to gather news highlights of the storm that hit your area, so you’re double sure and have enough proof if required.
How Do You Gauge Storm Damage?
We can’t emphasize more that it’s essential to file a storm damage insurance claim soon after the damage occurs. Most insurance claims put a time limit on when to make a claim. Besides, you don’t want things to stir worse and take a considerable toll on the future safety of your home.
Generally, you should assess the damage with a clear head and focus on the following:
- Fallen trees
- Shattered glass
- Leaks and roof damage
- Overall cleanup
When it comes to your roof, you should give a hawk’s eye to the following:
- Condition of Sealants: Check to ensure the sealant is beautifully intact around your chimneys, vents, and roof edges.
- Flashing: The flashing around various roof protrusions like vents and chimneys should be adequately fastened and secure in place.
- Shingles: Check out for visible signs of granule loss, dents from broken branches, and missing or misplaced shingles. Don’t overlook the damage to the granules because they work hard to protect shingles from UV damage and consequently your roof against rapid aging and deterioration.
- Moisture and Water Damage: However little moisture there is, it could cause nasty problems like mold and underlayment rotting. After heavy rains, it’s therefore crucial to check your attic insulation for moisture and around the ceiling for water intrusion.
Contact Your Insurer
Make contact as soon as possible because insurers typically visit clients who experience the most severe damage first.
But before you even contact your insurance provider’s claims department, please ensure you adequately understand their policy. Be ready to provide great detail, including pictures and estimates from your contractor of choice.
Seek Reliable Contractors
You’ll do well by interviewing reputable local contractors and not merely the first to ring your doorbell following a devastating storm.
You could have three contractors inspecting and documenting the damage. It’s your chance to ask questions such as which materials they’d use for repairs, so you make your best pick.
Seek an Insurance Adjuster
While your insurance adjuster makes their inspection, it’s prudent to have your chosen contractor present. The insurance adjuster works for the insurance company at the start. So, request your contractor to insist on fair play, or your insurance claim could be denied at the worst.
Sign Up for Message Alerts
Most insurance companies will want to notify you of the status and progress of your claim via SMS alerts. It’s therefore helpful to opt-in for such alerts. You’ll likely receive text notifications when you first report your claim, when an estimate is ready and when payment is dispatched.
Keep a Claim Diary
Ensure you have detailed records of everyone you speak to from when you first make your claim. Highlight the dates, times, and issues discussed. It comes in handy to simplify the claim process.
Watch Out for Payments
Expect two separate batches of payment, the first of which covers the material costs. As such, you should get ready for repairs.
The Bottom Line
It’s not only hurricanes that should worry you. Even a foul blizzard can knock down trees on your house and compound. It’s then prudent to opt for an appropriate insurance cover. We’ve tried hard to highlight key steps to follow in making your storm damage insurance claim.
However, you could leverage additional tips. For instance, work with the best restoration contractor as they will be your advocate. You should also review your coverage with your agent to fully understand your rights.