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Storm Damage? What do I do next?!

Missing Shingles

For some dealing with a loss like a wind or hail event can be quite stressful.   Going through the process with literally thousands of homeowners we find that if you take a step back and follow some quick tips to success then you will have a much better experience.  

Eyeball the damage & take pictures
For damage to the exterior of your home, it’s likely that you will be filing a homeowners insurance claim after a weather event, such as wind blowing off shingles, holes in the siding/windows, a tree branch slamming onto your roof (fortunately, we don’t get many earthquakes in our coverage areas). Once the wind dies down—and we can’t stress this enough: Do not go outside while a wicked storm is in progress and definitely don’t climb a ladder—go outside and look at the damage. Although some damage, particularly with your roof, may not be visible to the untrained eye (and from ground level), you should get a decent idea if a homeowners insurance claim is in your future. Take plenty of pictures that you can share with your insurance company and any contractors you might call out to look at the damage. And if anything needs immediate attention and you can safely make a temporary repair (e.g., boarding up a broken window), proceed with it so that your home doesn’t suffer additional damage. After all, your insurance company wants you to stop/prevent any future loss from happening!
Call your insurance company
Your next step is to contact your insurance agent or company, preferably as soon as possible after the damaging event. Describe the damage as thoroughly as you can and offer to send pictures to further illustrate the damage. Although you may not file a claim right away (and might not at all, depending on the extent of the damage and on your deductible), contacting your insurance company right away at least gets the process started.
Document everything
We’ve already suggested taking copious pictures of the damage to your home. Don’t let the documentation stop there. Take detailed notes from every call and interaction you have with your insurance company. Save receipts that resulted from the damage—anything from the materials you needed to make temporary repairs to the hotel you stayed at because that hole in your roof drove you out for a few days. And read through your policy to see exactly what’s covered and not covered. If needed, this is what your insurance agent/ broker is there for you to review.
Contact an Insurance Restoration Specialist
Calling contractors to inspect the damage and provide an estimate before an adjuster is sent out is a smart strategy. For starters, a trustworthy contractor can better determine the extent of the damage unseen from ground level. An estimate also gives you an idea if you are going to reach your deductible. Having multiple estimates isn't necessary though. Let’s say your mom needs knee surgery - does she get multiple bids? The answer, usually is NO. It works very similar in the insurance restoration side of things where the only out of pocket you would incur is the homeowner’s deductible on the policy.

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