Living in Wisconsin means dealing with whatever Mother Nature decides to throw at you. In the Pewaukee area, summer storms can be brutal, and there’s even the chance that a tornado may strike.
Being prepared is half the battle. While you may not be able to prevent damage to your home from a severe storm, you can at least know what to do when it’s over.
Helpful Tips for Recovering After a Storm or Tornado
#1 – Know what to look for in a contractor.
Contractors should provide you with the following:
- A free, written estimate. This should include details about the costs of labor and materials necessary for your repairs.
- Their license number. Only hire professional, licensed contractors.
- Proof of general liability insurance and how much they carry.
- Proof of their experience. If you request them, the contractor should offer to provide references, or they may at least refer you to their website.
- An estimated timeframe for the project.
Make sure the contractor you hire is local as there are some non-local, traveling “storm chaser” contractors who may try to make a bid for your repairs. Avoid these scammers at all costs. They are called “storm chasers” because they follow large storms and prey upon homeowners in areas where there’s been a lot of damage.
Storm chasers may:
- Ask for money up front
- Promise to get the repairs done in a freakishly short amount of time
- Promise to get the repairs done for an amount that is far below legitimate competitors’ bids
- Not have contractors insurance
- Not have a contractors license
- Not be able to provide references or a website where you can look at their past work
Finally, when it comes to repairs on your home, you may need to do some things yourself. That is, any immediate damage that needs to be taken care of before further damages are caused should be completed. Just be sure to save receipts.
You should not, however, attempt making full repairs before you have an estimate approved by your insurance agent and/or adjuster.
#2 – Understand your insurance and how to file a claim.
Every insurance agency has a different process for filing claims. It is imperative that you understand your own insurance agency’ process as there are often deadlines associated with making claims. You don’t want to wait to file past this deadline as it may nullify your prospects of getting a payout.
Also, make sure you understand the breadth of your insurance policy. You should have already gone over your coverage, premiums, and deductibles with your agent so that you know what will be covered in the event of severe damage. However, if you are at any time unsure of your coverage or other pertinent policy facts, feel free to contact your agent at any time.
For the most part, flooding is not covered by home insurance. However, most homeowners insurance policies will make payouts for damage caused by winds. This might mean blown off shingles, a broken branch that falls onto your garage, or a damaged deck, for example.
In the hours and days following a severe storm, you should contact an agent at your insurance provider as soon as you are able. Abide by their claims process, and be sure to follow their directions closely. Even missing a step here or there can delay your payout, which can cause additional problems when it comes to hiring a contractor and paying them in a timely manner.
innovante insurance can help with your homeowner’s insurance needs. Stop in to see us today, or give us a call!