When a severe storm hits the Shawano area, it’s up to you to know how to handle the aftermath. Unfortunately, many homeowners are unprepared for home damage that results from a storm.
Here’s what you need to know about hiring a repair contractor, making an insurance claim, and preventing additional damage in the future.
So Your Home’s Been Damaged by a Storm. Here’s What to Do.
Alert your home insurance agent.
Every insurance agency has a different way of handling claim filings. In many cases, you may not be able to file a complete claim right away.
Still, your insurance agency will want to know that there’s been damage to your house so they can get the ball rolling on your claim. Explain the damage in detail and follow their instructions. For example, they may ask you to take pictures or video of the damage, especially if you plan on having a contractor come in soon to begin repairs.
Avoid falling for “storm chaser” contractors.
It’s not uncommon for contractors to come knocking on your door after a storm that causes visible damage to your house. At first, this might seem like a welcome surprise as you’ll need to hire a contractor anyway.
However, these won’t be contractors from your local area, and you should realize that soliciting contractors are generally unreliable and may be dishonest. As a rule, these types of contractors are called “storm chasers.”
“Storm chaser” contractors are traveling contractors who go door-to-door in areas where large storms have hit, claiming to be able to complete repairs quickly and cheaply. Quite often, they will make this promise in exchange for up-front payment. You won’t be surprised to learn that if they do receive their up-front payment, you will probably never see them or your money again.
Hire a contractor you can trust.
There’s quite an easy way to avoid “storm chaser” contractors. Simply hire a contractor you can trust from the local Shawano area.
Local contractors with a good reputation and solid reviews from past customers are the way to go when it comes to repairing storm damage. Your insurance agent may even be able to help you choose a trustworthy contractor. Make sure they offer written estimates and are properly licensed.
Do your best to prevent future storm damage.
Make it a point to avoid future storm damage by taking some simple precautions:
– Check the trees in your yard, especially those that hang over your home. Rotting or dead branches should be removed as soon as you notice them.
– Have your roof inspected. If you need a new roof, invest in one. Otherwise, have any loose shingles or other problems repaired immediately.
– Shutter your windows. Shutters prevent damage to glass and window frames.
– Clean your gutters.
– Look at your yard, deck, and porch. Tie down or relocate items such as toys, bikes, trampolines, chairs, and other furniture. Otherwise, these items may be destroyed (or do some destroying of their own) when heavy winds hit.
Look over your homeowner’s policy for future reference.
Another way to better prepare for the future is to go over your homeowner’s insurance policy at least once per year. This is often best done alongside your insurance agent so that you can quickly ask about any questions or concerns you may have.
Having a strong understanding of your policy can help you make better decisions about protecting your home. It can also come in handy when it comes time to file a claim.
Feivor Insurance is here to answer all of your homeowner’s insurance-related questions. Stop by our Shawano office today or give us a call for more information.