Did a storm recently roll through your area that didn’t seem that bad – but when you went outside the next morning, you found that your home was damaged by it? Try not to worry. You could have storm insurance coverage that takes care of storm damage, even for seemingly “mild” storms. It is just a matter of using that insurance coverage and dealing with the insurer, which might be easier said than done.
Here’s what you should do if a storm damages your home:
- Check on your family: First things first, check on your family to make sure everyone is okay. If a storm has damaged your home, like breaking a window, then it might have done enough damage to hurt someone or scare your child. Ensure everyone in your household is safe.
- Look for and stop further damage: A small amount of property damage could be just the start of a larger amount of damage that you don’t notice at first. Be careful and examine the damage to your home for anything that might still be happening, like water leaking through a crack in the wall. If it is safe to do so, stop further damage from happening with basic repairs and maintenance, like shutting off a water valve if it is flooding. Do not try to make in-depth repairs now because that could jeopardize your property damage claim.
- Take photographs and videos of the damage: Once the damage has been controlled, you should photograph and film it thoroughly. There is no such thing as getting too many pictures of your property damage. If you can, take pictures of similar parts of your property that are not damaged, so you can compare-contrast it to the parts that have been damaged by the storm. Whatever damage that you don’t photograph now might be contested outright by the insurance company when it is uncovered later.
- Call your insurance company: You should call your insurance company right after you are done getting a good idea of how much damage has been done to your home. If you wait too long to tell them about what happened, then the insurer will probably try to deny your claim and say that the damage was not caused by the storm. Sometimes waiting even one day after a storm passes can be too long, so don’t delay contacting your insurer. You don’t need to give them every little detail about the case during your first call. You just need to tell them that your property has been damaged and that you need to start a claim.
- Start saving records: After your property insurance company is aware of your damage and your claim has begun, you will have to depend on it to progress things. The company should send an appraiser to your property to investigate the damage and determine how much coverage you can get for repairs. But your job is not done. You should still get copies of every document, record, photograph, etc. related to your claim. Save them for yourself, so you never need to worry about the insurance company misplacing them. With a paper trail well established, you will be better prepared if the insurer tries to deny, delay, or devalue your claim.
For the last step, you should get a storm damage attorney on your side. Here in New Orleans, Womac Law Firm is a local favorite for difficult insurance claims, especially those related to hurricane damage. If you need our help with a case after the insurance company stopped treating you fairly, let us help. Call 504.470.3935 to Put the Womac on ‘Em!