Thunderstorms cause significant damage to homes each year. The damage ranges from missing roof shingles to trees falling on the structure. Your home insurance may cover some or all of the thunderstorm damage. However, you can minimize some risks on your own. Taking steps to minimize risks helps keep your home insurance costs down. Here are five tips to help you.
#1: Check Those Branches
One common cause of damage to homes from thunderstorms comes from falling branches. Inspect yours each year. Be sure to remove dead or dying branches. Remove those on your property and over the neighbor’s property as well. Also, cut branches back from electrical lines, your roof or chimney.
#2: Shore Up the Foundation
Thunderstorms can cause water damage as well. Be sure your home’s foundation has necessary sealants from rainwater. Also keep all gutters and drainage ditches clear of debris. You will want to check the grading on your home to ensure water flows again from it. If you have a sump pump or other system, be sure it is always working. Home insurance does not usually cover flooding. Be sure your home will not flood.
#3: When Lightning Strikes
It is not always possible to minimize damage from lightning. However, you can reduce damage by minimizing the number of tall objects around the home. Have a professional install a lightning protection system. This can help reduce risks.
#4: Monitor the Wires
Electrical wires tend to not be a concern for homeowners. You should not touch them or move them during storms. In fact, many homeowners shut off and unplug non-essential electrical items during storms.
However, it is important to monitor these items during and after the weather passes. If you spot a problem with them, contact the electrical company. A common example includes fallen wires. Look for areas where the wires seem to hang rather than remain tight. Report any close to the ground. Damage to electrical poles is also important to spot and repair. Never attempt repairs on your own.
#5: Move Items Inside When Possible
Sometimes, the rain is not the problem, but the wind is. You will want to consider moving light items into a protected area if a storm approaches. This may take a few minutes to do. However, it can help minimize the risk of a flower pot becoming airborne and striking a window. That’s a problem you might avoid.
Be proactive. Invest wisely in these simple ways to protect your home. Often, your electrical company can offer insight and tips as well. Let your home insurance agent know if you do need to file a claim. You will likely get the support you need.
FAQ’s About What To Do After a Storm
What should I do if there is water damage to my home?
Remove any standing water and dry out the affected areas as soon as possible to prevent mold growth. Contact a professional restoration company if necessary.
Should I attempt to clean up debris on my own?
Only attempt to clean up debris if it’s safe to do so. Contact a professional if you’re unsure.
What should I do if my roof is damaged in a storm?
Cover any holes or leaks with tarps or other temporary materials to prevent further damage. Contact a roofing professional for repairs.
How do I file an insurance claim for storm damage?
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible and provide them with the necessary documentation, such as pictures and videos of the damage.
How can I prevent future storm damage to my home?
Regularly maintain your home’s structure and landscaping. Consider installing storm shutters or reinforcing your roof.
What should I do if I lose power during a storm?
Use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns instead of candles. Unplug any electronics to protect them from power surges when the power comes back on.
How can I reach out to insurance for storm-related damages?
When dealing with storm damages to your home, it’s crucial to contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Here are some steps to follow:
- Review your policy: Understand the coverage and any deductibles associated with storm damage claims.
- Document the damage: Take photos and videos of the affected areas, and make a detailed list of damaged items.
- Prevent additional damage: Make temporary repairs if possible, like covering broken windows or damaged roofs. Keep the receipts for reimbursement purposes.
- Contact your insurance agent: Notify your insurance agent about the damage, discuss the policy coverage, and start the claims process.
How can we avoid potential hazards after a storm?
Post-storm hazards can be dangerous. To keep yourself and your home safe, follow these tips:
- Beware of downed power lines: Do not approach or touch any fallen power lines, as they may still be active. Report them to your local authorities.
- Avoid floodwater: Stay out of flooded areas, and do not attempt to drive through them.
- Wear protective clothing: When cleaning up or assessing damages, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and sturdy shoes.
- Check your property: Inspect your home for structural damage and report any issues to your insurance company.
What types of professional assistance are available for storm damage?
There are several professional services you can rely on for help after a storm:
- Emergency services: Contact local authorities and emergency services if you need immediate assistance, such as evacuating your home or addressing downed power lines.
- Insurance adjusters: Insurance companies typically send an adjuster to assess the damage to your home and determine the appropriate compensation.
- Restoration and repair companies: These professionals specialize in repairing and restoring affected properties. They may offer services like water extraction, mold prevention, and structural repairs.
- Tree removal services: If you have trees or large branches downed during the storm, professional tree removal services can safely handle the situation.