Homeowners insurance often has coverage for all types of wind damage. This coverage should also include hail storms, wind-driven rain and water intrusion from high speed winds. To mitigate your losses it’s best to take steps to prepare before a storm, secure your property during and steps to take after wind damage occurs.
How To Prepare for a Windstorm
If you have notice of high speed winds heading your direction here are the best things you can do for your property and safety:
- Secure all exterior objects. This means plants, patio furniture, landscaping equipment, yard toys or any other loose fixtures that could become dangerous flying objects.
- Trim your trees and shrubs. Make sure you keep all tree and shrub branches as short as possible so they don’t come loose or intrude your house or nearby power lines.
- Brace your windows and doors. If your home has easy close or accordion shutters it’s recommended to close them if you have enough notice of the storm approaching. It is suggested to brace your garage door too.
What To Do During a Windstorm
Often we don’t get notice of these types of natural disasters that can be accompanied by hail, rains and flooding. During a windstorm it’s important to stay indoors and avoid flying objects, avoid standing near windows or in areas of your home with weak structure.
In the case of water intrusion immediately document with photographs and notes. Then try your best to sop up and control the spread of water. If you can contain the area your chances of developing secondary issues such as wood rot, mold, mildew and pests such as termites will be much lower. It is also important to make sure there are no electrical
In the case of a broken window or structural damage avoid the area entirely until the storm is over and it’s safe to clean the area. As you would with any other damage, make sure you take pictures and document every detail.
What To Do After Wind Damage Occurs
Damage is often inevitable in unexpected natural disasters. Knowing what to do and how to properly handle damage is the most important part of being a property owner.
1. Do NOT make permanent or emergency repairs until you or an adjuster have documented the damage. This means photos from every angle, notes on the who, what when and submitting notice to your carrier that the damage occurred.
2. Make sure you understand the extent of your damage and the necessary repairs before you sign a contract with an assignment of benefits clause. It will relinquish any benefits that you may receive from your claim and may open the door for excessive repair bills. Maintain control of your claim or contact an Exodus Public Adjuster to help you.
3. Continue to document EVERYTHING. Get a written quote from the restoration contractor before they do the work and make sure it is approved by your insurance carrier. Get everything in writing.
4. Many insurance companies now operate what they are calling a ‘managed repair program’ which means they send out contractors who have signed work agreements with them to fix your property, sometimes at fixed or reduced fees. Often there are unethical practices and they offer you a lump sum of money to walk away from damage (not enough to cover the actual cost of the damage). Remember, it’s your property and you have to live with it long after all the contractors have finished the job. You want to ensure it’s done with longevity in mind.