The moments following a storm can be overwhelming. From assessing the damage to planning for repairs, you may need clarification about where to start. Here are steps to take in your Estero storm damage recovery.
1. Safety First
If your home suffers significant damage during a storm, the aftermath can pose serious safety risks. Your first instinct may be to inspect your home. While it’s a crucial stage, it helps to take certain precautions first.
After a storm has passed, ensure those in the home are safe. Verify there’s no electrocution risk. It’s best to stay out of the home until you shut off power from the main supply switch if a flood damages power lines.
Examples of possibly dangerous situations include collapsed walls, gas line issues, standing water, roof damage, and shattered windows. You should also look for shifted screws, shattered glassware, exposed nails, and other sharp objects caused by Estero storm damage. If your home suffers roofing storm damage, consider relocating your loved ones temporarily.
If your roof is unstable, let professionals inspect your structure to determine the extent of the damage and address all necessary repairs. You’ll likely find things like glass, sharp debris, and nails. If you notice the smell of natural gas in your home, contact the gas company immediately and leave the area to avoid gas inhalation or explosion.
2. Document the Damage
Once a professional helps you determine it’s safe to enter your home, you can assess your Estero storm damage. Even though the process can be upsetting as you see the extent of the damage, you must take pictures and document the damage before contacting your insurance provider. Doing this is key to ensuring you have evidence for your insurance claim and increasing the chances of success, as some policies only cover certain types of damage.
Use your smartphone to film and photograph your home’s interior and exterior Estero storm damage. Since a storm will likely damage your home’s structure, be cautious during the inspection. Go through each room, taking detailed pictures, but ensure they’re safe first.
During the inspection, look for problems such as holes and leaks in the roof brought on by loose, broken, or missing shingles. You should also check for damaged furniture and appliances, broken windows and doors, moisture damage, fire damage, basement flooding, exposed power lines, and loss or destruction of personal property. Most homeowners insurance policies cover personal property.
You can easily receive compensation from your insurance provider if you have photos of your home or property before the storm. It helps them guarantee you’re not trying to blame the storm for pre-existing damage, as they can easily compare the photos. So if your local weather forecast says a storm is approaching, take pictures of your home as it is right now.
3. Contact Your Insurance Agent
After taking pictures of the Estero storm damage to your home, contact your insurance provider to report the event. Along with proper documentation, show them the pictures as you discuss the storm’s damage. Your agent will guide you through the claims process by giving you a claim number and the company’s emergency service providers list.
After filing the claim, your insurance company will send claims adjusters to inspect the damage before covering your repair costs. Ensure you’re there when they show up so you can discuss any issues and get an accurate estimate. Once you meet your deductibles, the adjuster will tell you what and how much damage your homeowner’s insurance policy covers.
Most homeowner’s insurance plans don’t cover flood damage. If you experience flooding in your home, look for an insurance company that specifically covers the costs of hiring a flood damage restoration company. Without this insurance, you’ll have to cover water damage restoration costs out of pocket.
Filing a claim after a storm can be time-consuming and stressful. However, an insurance agent can help you streamline the process. This step is key to addressing Estero storm damage.
4. Prevent Further Damage
After assessing the damage, preventing it from spreading further is important. Estero storm damage can take many forms, from structural damage to water damage to electrical systems damage. They’ll only get worse the longer you wait to address them with the help of professionals.
Start by looking for cracks, holes, or other damage on your home’s exterior. If your inspection reveals any issues, address them promptly. Cover any holes with plywood or tarps to prevent rain or wind from causing further damage.
Your roof is one of the most vulnerable components during a storm. Look for missing or damaged shingles, and get a professional to repair them immediately. If you find leaks, patch them using a tarp to prevent water from entering the home.
Ensure you purchase thick, high-quality tarping. Before applying it, clear debris such as leaves and branches. You’ll want it to cover the entire damaged section while leaving a four-foot overhang.
Debris often clogs downspouts or gutters during a storm, increasing the likelihood of water damage. If you find any obstructions, clear them out. You should also ensure the downspouts divert water from the home to prevent future flooding.
A storm can also damage your home’s electrical systems. If you spot any downed power lines, stay clear and contact your local power provider promptly. You should also turn off the power supply to your home and call in an electrician to make emergency repairs.
Flooding from a storm or water entering the home through leaks or other gaps can result in water damage. Get the water out of your home immediately to prevent mold growth and other issues. Use pumps or wet vacuums to remove water from the impacted area, and dry it with fans or dehumidifiers.
Installing storm doors is a great way of protecting your home from the effects of a storm. These doors can withstand strong winds and flying debris. They also help keep your home warm during a storm by providing an extra insulation layer.
5. Look For Disaster Assistance
The Federal Emergency Management Agency assists homeowners whose homes have suffered storm damage. They can help you with repairs, filing insurance claims, finding temporary housing, and family meals. If your area is considered a storm disaster, you might qualify for a low-interest loan that’ll go a long way in helping you rebuild.
Even if your homeowner’s insurance policy isn’t reliable, you can still benefit from federal disaster assistance. You’ll need to provide some documentation to obtain the loan. Lodging expense reimbursement is one of the housing assistance programs FEMA provides for storm survivors.
It reimburses individuals for out-of-pocket expenses that insurance benefits, such as loss of use or additional living expenses, don’t cover. Your primary residence must be inaccessible, uninhabitable, or experiencing a utility outage due to an extended disaster to qualify. Some of the eligible expenses include the room’s cost and taxes levied by a hotel or other lodging providers.
It doesn’t include transportation, phone calls, or food costs. Note that LER doesn’t provide upfront or direct payments to a motel or hotel; it’s limited to reimbursement. If uninsured or underinsured, you can get home repair assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Some repairs you can get assistance for include damage to structural elements (roof, outside walls, foundation, etc.), cabinetry, ceilings, walls, floors, doors, and windows. It may also cover repair to utility systems such as gas, plumbing, and electrical. Note that home repair assistance. This assistance program typically only covers basic services such as a water damage restoration service to keep the home functional, sanitary, and safe.
6. Find Reputable Storm Damage Restoration Services
It’s time to call a reputable restoration service to handle the damage and restore your home to its former glory. Only hire businesses that have a solid local reputation. You should also ensure any organization you hire possesses extensive experience with the Estero storm damage to your property.
Depending on the type of damage, you’ll need different professional services. If your roof suffers damage due to high winds, hail, or any other cause, you must call in a roofer to make emergency repairs before you can plan for permanent repairs. It’s common to see fallen trees on yards, roads, and even homes after a storm.
A professional storm damage tree removal service has all the right equipment and tools for removing a fallen tree and hauling it away. If a tree collapses through your roof, gas lines and electrical wires in your attic will likely experience damage. The result can be an explosion or a fire.
Turn off the gas and electricity in your home from the main shut-off switch as a safety measure. Wood fences don’t withstand high winds well, especially if the posts are rotted or too old.
A damaged fence can compromise your home’s security and let your pets escape. If your home floods and sustains water damage, you’ll need a professional to extract and dry the water.
Flood mitigation services usually have dehumidifiers, drying fans, truck-mounted water extraction vacuums, and other specialized equipment.
They can also help lower the possibility of harmful mold growth, so you don’t have to call a local mold remediation service. If other homes in your area have experienced Estero storm damage and you can’t locate a flood mitigation company, consider hiring a carpet cleaning company to extract the flood water. Depending on the damage’s extent, hiring a moving company may be necessary to help pack up your clothes, furniture, and personal property and move them to a new temporary location.
Usually, this is done to make it easier to perform repairs, cleaning, or professional mold removal. However, watch out for scams when hiring movers. These services are usually capable of performing the services mentioned earlier.
A storm can also damage your sewer line. The result is a backup or other issues with your plumbing system. Contact a sewer line repair company promptly to mitigate the damage.
Another important service to consider is a restoration contractor. These professionals can be valuable when assembling a repair estimate and interacting with your insurance adjuster. A reputable restoration company will offer any urgent services you need following a storm and help accelerate the restoration and recovery process.
Be cautious of scams if a major storm has hit your region, resulting in significant property damage. Some dishonest contractors prey on storm casualties by overcharging for poor services. Before hiring a business, research its track record to ensure it can deliver high-quality craftsmanship.
7. Keep Receipts for Any Repairs You Make
Remember to keep receipts for any repairs you make, whether that’s a flooring service, roofing service, or a roof repair service. This step is crucial if you intend to file an insurance claim. Insurance companies will require documentation of the repairs and their cost.
Keeping records can safeguard you if disagreements arise with your insurance provider and ensure you get the maximum reimbursement for your claim. Besides insurance purposes, having the receipts handy can also help with tax purposes. Repairs or upgrades you perform may be tax deductible.
The IRS allows taxpayers to write off specific costs connected to property damage, including repairs made after a storm. Keeping documentation, such as receipts of your storm repairs, can reduce your tax liability and save money on your tax return. They’ll also come in handy if you intend to put your property on the market in the future
Some buyers ask for evidence of any repairs or improvements made to a property, especially if it’s in a storm-prone area. In this case, keeping receipts handy will help prove you took excellent care of the property and increase its value. Doing this can also be good practice for tracking your expenditure and maintaining your property.
Addressing your Estero storm damage will feel overwhelming at first. From seeing all the damage to your precious home to losing important documents, you may feel like giving up. However, following the steps outlined in this read, you’ll soon have your home back to its pre-storm condition.