While there’s no way to predict the weather, we do know that summers in Southeast Wisconsin often bring severe storms and even tornadoes. Protecting yourself and your family from such inclement weather should be your main concern. Your next concern should be your home. Do you know what to do if a storm or tornado severely damages your home?
Prepare for Your House and Family for the Summer Storm Season
It’s important to speak to your family about what you would do if a storm hit the Columbus area. We all know that an average thunderstorm won’t cause much damage, but severe winds, lightning, rain, and hail can do damage. And of course, tornadoes can essentially level entire street blocks.
Every home should have a go-to plan for severe weather. You should know how to shut off your electricity, water, and gas. You should know where your important documents and family possessions are should you need to evacuate quickly. Similarly, if you need to leave your home, make sure you have an action plan if your family is not together when you decide to leave. Choose a meeting place such as a local landmark or a friend or neighbor’s house that is not in your immediate vicinity.
Finally, have emergency numbers at-the-ready in case you need to use them.
Naturally, there’s more to protecting your family and home from storm damage than just knowing what to do with yourselves. You also need to know how to protect your house itself. Start by removing all broken and dead tree branches around your house. Fix problem areas on your fencing, home exterior, and roof quickly — don’t wait if you see a problem. Finally, pay close attention to summer weather forecasts, and know when a big storm is going to hit.
What to Do After the Storm Has Settled
After a severe storm or tornado, make sure everyone is safe and sound before assessing the damage. If things need to be fixed immediately before they cause additional damage, do this right away. At the same time, be sure to keep your receipts as these may prove useful later on when you’re making an insurance claim.
Call and talk to your insurance agent about your policy, and make sure you know what’s covered. Nearly all home insurance plans will cover wind damage, but they won’t usually cover flooding damage.
Tell your insurance agent that you had damage to your home and to start the process of filing a claim. They will probably tell you to get a written estimate from a local contractor as your next step.
When choosing a contractor, it is important that they are local. Out-of-town contractors may be scammers called “storm chasers.” A storm chaser is someone who chases storms across the Midwest or the country, looking for homeowners who need fast and inexpensive repairs. Storm chasers are often unlicensed and uninsured, which could cause serious problems for you and your finances down the line. If you don’t know a contractor who says they can get the job done for a fraction of the normal cost, it’s probably too good to be true, and you should avoid them.
The contractor you choose should provide a free written estimate for the repairs needed for your home, and they should also be able to show you written proof of liability insurance and their professional contracting license.
Have questions about what to do after a storm when it comes to your homeowner’s insurance? Our courteous and knowledgeable agents at Anton Insurance can help. Visit our office, or give us a call today.