Wind is a duplicitous enemy in that it brews in both dry, dusty, tornado-breeding climates, as well as damp, balmy hurricane zones. As a result, whether you live in the Gulf Coast, East Coast, or Kansas, it is wise to brush up on wind damage protocol. While your first instinct at the dissipation of growling winds may be to emerge from low-level safety and survey what remains of your home, remember that both tornadoes and hurricanes can hit lulls before returning with a vengeance. Act accordingly to emergency alerts via radio or phone.
That being said, acting efficiently when placing a homeowners claim is crucial. Once you have been cleared to do so, assess post-storm damage. Still exercise caution, as wind damage can leave a particularly dangerous aftermath. Glass, nails, branches, nearly anything—bolted down or otherwise—may have been blown into your home’s path and left to lurk within larger debris. Use protective gear to avoid any cuts or punctures when photographing or measuring damage. Leave roof inspection to the roof inspectors. A homeowner’s claim is enough to handle—you do not need to put your life insurance to the test as well. Because roof-related scenarios are complex in that a lot of damage manifests itself through long-term decay, be sure to hire a licensed professional for both estimates and labor. As in any situation where contracts are being circulated, pass them to a lawyer for review before you sign.
If you can do so safely, place a tarp over broken windows or missing segments of your roof. Any further exposure to natural elements, like rain, or human intervention, like break-ins, may not be covered under your claim if they were preventable by your own foresight. Do not worry if you were involved in a hurricane and moisture has gotten into your home via torn shingles, as that water damage will likely be covered in the lump sum of the incident. A lawyer can consult your independent assessment and go to bat for you if the insurance company tries to assert that water damage was caused by your negligence. Nevertheless, this point brings us to an important reminder from our discussion on house fires—do not begin structural overhauls before all insurance adjusters, independent investigators, estimating contractors, and/or public officials have gotten a chance to assess the existing damage. Too much deviation from the original scene can render your claim defunct.
While other threats like hail and fires can pop up anywhere, chances are, you have some awareness about whether your home is in a geographical area prone to tornadoes or hurricanes. If you find yourself in a repetitive loss property, consider getting wind-resistant shingles, shutters for your windows, and heavily-weighted landscaping. While these investments are more expensive than other options, they are exactly that—investments. Spending more money up front will essentially save you more in the long run. That’s why hiring an attorney shows good foresight. Having experts look over your policy and evidentiary documents can maximize your claim. Repairs are not just about fixing the immediate situation, but ensuring that your family has the soundest future moving forward.