You don’t live in Waukesha, WI for very long without learning how to plan for a storm, but it’s just as important to have a plan of action for what you’re going to do after the storm has passed. Here’s what you need to get squared away:
- Read up on your insurance policy. You need to have a level of protection that you’re comfortable with, so before storm season hits, read over your policy and feel free to call your agent with any questions. You’re probably covered on wind damages, although that might not explicitly be stated in the policy, flooding may require extra protection.
- Control the damages. There’s only so much you can do on your own after a storm. For the big damages, your hands are pretty well tied until you get that insurance claim filed and the check in hand. But, you can put buckets under the leaks, move valuables away from broken windows where they can suffer further rain and wind damage, and avoid having any of the damage chalked up to homeowner negligence.
- Don’t talk to contractors until you’ve filed your claim. If you make sure to talk to your insurance agent first, you can keep the ball in your court. You want to protect yourself from storm chasers, contractors who go door to door after a storm getting homeowners to sign them on as a sole contractor. This works for them because you can’t cancel payment on a check that comes directly from your insurer when the contractors do a shoddy job or don’t do the job at all. File your claim, get your check, and pay your contractors from the money your insurance provider gives you. Don’t sign anyone on as a sole contractor and…
- Do your research before hiring anyone. Storm chasers tend to not have much presence in the local business community or online because they’re usually on to the next affected town as soon as they’ve cashed their checks. So get online, ask around, and make sure that you’re not hiring anyone who doesn’t come highly recommended.
- Keep a level head. Storm chasers prey on the stress and anxiety that homeowners feel after a storm has passed. Under normal circumstances you probably would never consider hiring a contractor who came knocking on your door mere hours after the storm settled down, but when your nerves are rattled, and you’re asking yourself “How on Earth am I gonna get this fixed?” you’re a little more vulnerable to pushy, shady sales tactics. So stay calm. If you’re in one piece and your house hasn’t been leveled, then there are no damages here that can’t be managed, and your insurance will probably pay for all the expensive repairs. There’s no need to panic.
Once you have all of this settled, all that’s left is to restock any canned goods, batteries and other storm supplies you used up during the storm, let the contractors do their job, and take some time to relax.