A major storm can leave your home with damage. Roof and siding damage are common, as are broken windows or damage to the landscaping. Once the storm has passed, you will need to begin the work of rebuilding. The following are the steps you should take.
Step #1: Initial damage assessment
Immediately following the storm, begin your personal damage assessment from inside the home. The first thing to do is to make sure there are no downed power lines or other immediate dangers, such as partially fallen trees or broken branches that are hung up and in danger of falling. If there are immediate dangers, remain in your home and call the proper company to take care of it, such as the utility company. Otherwise, go outside and make your own list of all the damages you can see.
Step #2: Call the insurance company
Your next step is to notify the home insurance company that you have damage. They will then send out an adjuster to assess the damage. You will need to compare your own list of damages to their list to ensure they do not overlook anything during the inspection. Although the insurance company will likely tell you that you do not need to be home for an exterior inspection, it is still a good idea to be present so you can verify the work of the adjuster.
Step #3: Protect your property
If a tree is a danger and needs to be removed immediately or if the roof is going to leak, you may need to take steps before the settlement is issued from the insurance company. In some cases, when a storm has damaged homes in a large area, you may even need to take these steps before the adjuster can come out. Let your insurance company know what you are doing and why, then take pictures of the damage. In the case of roof damage, a roofer can tarp the roof as an interim solution while you await the the adjuster or settlement.
Step #4: Get your own quotes
Don't forget to get your own quotes for repairing the damage. Get quotes from at least two different contractors, then compare these quoted amounts to the settlement offered by your insurance company. They should be similar once you account for your deductible. If they are not, then you will need to prove to your insurance company, using the quotes, that they have not offered you a fair market repair coverage per your policy.
Once you have received your insurance payment and agreed to it, make sure you have the work done as soon as possible. Most insurance companies provide a window to have the work completed within if you want to maintain the coverage on your home.