Severe Weather Safety Tips

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Tips Should Severe Weather Cause Residential Damage this Spring


The Institute for Business and Home Safety guides homeowners on how to refocus after a catastrophe, file claims, and ultimately rebuild and/or repair after a severe weather incident. 

 1.  As soon as possible, contact your insurance agent and/or company to report any loss.  Be sure to have all necessary information handy such as: Insurance policy number, specifics about damage sustained and be sure to note the adjuster’s name and contact information.

2.  If there is extensive damage, leave the assessment up to your local officials to determine if entering is safe.  Immediately report gas line leaks and compromised power lines.  If you have experienced water damage and flooding, if possible, keep your electricity off.

3.  If able to do so, retrieve undamaged items. To protect your property from further damage, board up windows and secure entry ways.  Don’t forget to ask your insurance company exactly what they will pay for when it comes to your damaged personal property and belongings.  

 4.  Prepare a list of all damaged/destroyed items for the adjuster and let him/her examine them. Photo or video evidence is always a good idea when it comes to any insurance claim. If you’ve kept them, provide receipts for any items damaged or destroyed to the adjuster. 

5.  If you are forced to live off premise, keep all of your receipts for food, lodging, clothes and other expenses incurred while your dwelling is being repaired. 

6.  Your insurance company, agent or adjuster will provide you with claim forms. Be sure to complete them as thoroughly as possible and return them.  Note the time period given for which to return the forms as that varies from state to state.  

7.  Payment for repairs from your insurer most likely will be made out to you and your mortgage provider. Generally, mortgage companies place the funds in an escrow account while the work is being completed and pay for the repairs from this account.  You should have a say in the contractor bidding process and repairs so don’t hesitate to contact your lender to the process.   

storm damage

The following recommendations come from the IBHS regarding home improvements in high-impact severe weather areas:

-  The use of a roofing system which can sustain high winds and provides well-sealed sheathing and braced gables.

-  The points of the roof and foundation which meet the house walls need to be firmly anchored. In the case of a two story home, likewise, the upper portion needs to be firmly anchored to the lower framing. 

-  Installation of an impact-resistant window system and laminated glazing materials for patio-type sliding doors. 

-  Reinforced door frames with quality dead-bolt entry doors.  

-  Garage doors more than 8 feet wide should be retrofitted with stiffeners and a tracking system resistant to higher winds.