Storm Damage Restoration: What to Do After the Storm
Damage Restoration: What to Do After the Storm
“April showers” are
sometimes much more than just a bit of rain. Spring weather can include a wide
range of weather activity, such as severe storms with powerful winds that
can cause serious damage. Or — heavy rainfall that leads to over-the-ground
flooding, or even flooding from streams and rivers.
Severe spring weather
can thus result in costly storm damage repair. So, when the storm is over, it’s
important to know what to do, as well as what NOT to do. If you’ve experienced
storm damage of any size, follow these key storm damage restoration tips.
- Take photos of the
damage and show them to your insurance agent as soon as possible.
- Homeowners insurance
generally covers sudden, accidental damage.
- Let’s say there was a
thunderstorm with high winds, and your roof suffered damage and is now leaking.
Or, a tree falls onto your house and damages your roof. In these cases, your
homeowners policy will typically cover the expenses.
- However, some homeowners
policies may have windstorm and hail exclusions. That means your policy will
not cover damage caused by those perils. To learn about any exclusions in your
coverage, read your policy or talk with your agent.
- Also, flooding from
natural disasters is generally not covered. For that, you will need separate
flood insurance that you can get from The National Flood Insurance Program.
Getting help for your home
First of all, ensure
your safety when checking for house damage. Watch out for fallen power lines,
standing water that may be electrically charged, and wild animals.
- Check pipes inside and
outside your home (i.e., irrigation systems).
- Close the water valves
to toilets and sinks. If necessary, shut off all water to your home.
- If sewage is
backing up in the shower or under the toilet, your main sewer line might
be clogged or broken. So, don’t make the problem worse by using other
sinks or toilets. Call a professional for assistance.
- Check your roof for
missing shingles, but don’t risk life and limb by going onto your roof,
even if only a few shingles are lost.
a professional contractor. They have the skills, tools, and equipment
to do the job safely and correctly following a storm damage restoration
- Have them do a
temporary “fix” to stop rain coming in until a permanent solution can
- Appliances exposed to
water should be disconnected from their power source and serviced
before being used.
- Check for
frayed wires and watch for sparks.
- If you have
structural damage or see exposed wires, call an electrician. Keep the
power off as there’s the possibility of electrocution if you turn the
power on yourself.
- Exterior breaker boxes
are typically rain-tight but may not withstand a major storm. If you
suspect water has infiltrated the box, call an electrician before
turning on the power.
- Avoid metal fences.
They may carry a charge from fallen or dangling utility wires.
- If a limb or tree has
fallen on a power line near your house, turn off the power and call
the utility company. Do not attempt to cut or clear fallen trees that are
around power lines yourself!
- For flooding problems,
the best plan is to call a professional restoration company. They have the
necessary tools, qualified technicians, and knowledge to deal with flooding
- If you decide
to do-it-yourself, take precautions and wear boots, gloves, eye
protection, and a respirator.
- Minimize the
damage by removing standing water.
- Use a pump
or squeegee the standing water.
- Use a vacuum only
if it’s a true wet-dry vacuum.
- Remove everything
absorbent that has been contaminated by floodwater (carpeting, carpet
padding, furniture, drapes, etc.).
- Use air movers and
dehumidifiers to dry out the area.
- Throw away all
medicines, cosmetics, and foods, even canned goods, if they have been
submerged in floodwaters.
- Check for hidden
moisture behind wallboards, and take out damaged portions to avoid mold.
- Clean floors and
cabinets by washing them with detergent, then disinfect with a
disinfectant from the grocery or hardware store.
- Remember, keep a
photographic (or video) inventory of anything you must throw out.
- Automobiles can easily
be damaged by floodwaters, tree limbs, or falling debris.
- If an
automobile is damaged, always notify your insurance agent.
- Cover broken
windows if the car appears salvageable.
- List valuables in your
car that have been lost or damaged.
and natural disasters bring out those who take advantage of the situation.
But by following a few practical guidelines, you can help protect
yourself from an additional loss:
- Try to work with
local or known contractors.
- Don’t pay for work
until it’s finished and you are satisfied. Pay with a check or a
- Beware of a contractor
who tries to pressure you. If an offer is only good “now or never,”
find someone else.
- Obtain written
estimates for all proposed work that include proposed scopes and
- Also, beware of
charity scams that might use a storm to make their pleas for
donations more plausible. Only give to organizations you know and