Maybe you didn’t prepare well enough and your home was an easy target or maybe you were 100% prepared and just got extremely unlucky. Either way, you are now forced to deal with the damage. Below we take you through the steps you should take after a storm has damaged your home because it is important to know what to do when a storm hits.
If your home has been damaged by one of the many recent storms, here’s what you need to do.
1. Safety of the Structure
A house that has just been damaged by a severe storm can be a very dangerous area. We recommend removing all children and pets from the area until you are able to properly evaluate the damage. This is extremely important as live power lines, mold, broken materials and open areas of your house can all put your family at considerable risk. Old houses can pose extra risks with the possibility of asbestos particles being present in the air after it’s been damaged. We’d recommend avoiding a clean up until you’ve assessed the potential hazzards. If you are unsure whether a mess is safe to clean up, it is better to be safe and get the damage inspected. You must make sure you follow any advice from emergency services closely.
2. Record damage
Before you touch anything, you should gather evidence of any damage to give to your insurer. This will help your case when claiming your repairs through your insurance. So after you have decided that it is safe to enter, take some photos or samples (this could be damaged carpet etc) of any damage before doing anything else. Try to get multiple angles if you can.
3. Call your insurer
Most insurance companies offer 24 hour assistance so you should call them as soon as the damage happens. You can then organise emergency repairs for any parts of the home that are making it unsafe or at risk of further damage.
An example of this is if there is a hole in your roof, if it continues to rain, your roof is likely to leak and the inside of your home will get damaged also. In this instance; if you were to call us, we would put a make safe roof up which will weather proof the inside of your home where the roof is no longer able. This can save you huge amounts of money by preventing further damage. You can then go ahead and make your claim afterwards.
Remember that you can nominate particular companies to do your repairs with most insurance companies. So if you have been happy with work by us or any other construction companies, make sure you nominate who you would like to do your work! This will ensure that your home will be fixed to a high standard, leaving you with one less thing to stress about. It is important to understand that some patience will be needed in times like these, especially when a huge weather event has happened because there will be many others who are asking the same thing as you from your insurance company and their contractors.
4. The clean up
You can now start cleaning up some of the mess, before your repairs begin. Remember, it is very important that you have checked the safety of your home before you start cleaning. Be careful also, not to create further damage while cleaning. TOP TIP: before you hire any tradespeople you must speak to your insurer, this is very important. Not all tradespeople will be authorised for repairs therefore you won’t be covered by your insurance for the repairs they do. We have heard of companies taking advantage of stressed customers and saying they are authorised when they are not. So be careful! Call your insurer before you get any repairs done.
- If your roof was damaged or in bad condition before the storm hit – your insurance may not cover damage made by a storm (see our storm preparation, we weren’t lying when we talked about how important it is!)
- If parts of your roof fly off and hit another person’s car or house, you are liable to fix any damage made
- If a tree from the neighbour’s yard hits your home, they are liable to fix any damage made
- There is no need to worry if you can’t find your insurance papers as your insurance company will have electronic records and should only need to ask your name and address to access them
Remember – insurance won’t stop a disaster from happening but it can help the process of getting things back to normal much shorter and cheaper. We really hope that your home doesn’t get damaged during the storm season – but it does happen. So it is better to know exactly what to do if it does happen to you rather than having to find out at the time.