Depending on where you live, there may come a time when a hurricane passes through your town. If you’re lucky, this just means a day spent inside waiting for the rain and winds to pass. Other times we are not so fortunate, and the hurricane leaves some damage in its wake. This can range from minor damages, like broken tree limbs or a fallen gutter, to something more major, like a flooded basement or a hole in your roof. No matter what happens to your home during the hurricane, once it passes you’ll need to take some steps in order to get everything back to normal. Here are the steps to follow to do this.
Assess the Damage
The first thing you need to do is figure out what happened. Inspect the inside of your home first, and see if the hurricane caused any damage inside. Are there wet spots in your ceiling? Puddles on the floor of your basement or crawlspace? Did any windows break? If you rode out the storm within your house, you likely noticed these problems as they happened, but it’s still a good idea to check each room in your house in case you missed something, and to assess the entirety of the damage.
Once you’re done with the inside, move onto the exterior of the home. Did anything fall into the yard, or break on the outside of the house? Do you notice any problems with your roof from the outside? The outside of your home received the brunt of the storm, so be sure to go over everything carefully. As your examining your home, both inside and out, take pictures of anything damaged, as you may need them for insurance purposes.
Contact Your Insurance Company
If you received significant damage to your home, it’s important that you call your insurance company. You might have hurricane coverage, and therefore won’t have to spend the money yourself on repairs. You don’t want to get things fixed before talking with your insurance company, as this may nullify your claim. Once you’ve contacted your insurance company, they will tell you how to proceed with getting your home back in order. While insurance companies are likely busy right after a major storm, hopefully it won’t be too long before they send someone to assess the damage at your home.
Start Making Repairs
Now that you have the permission of your insurance company, or if the damage to your home was slight (or not covered under insurance), you can begin to make repairs. Make a list of everything you need to do, and then start tackling them from most important to least. During this phase you’ll need to decide if you are going to make the repairs yourself, or hire someone to do it for you.
If you decide to hire outside help, keep in mind that this may take time. Other homes in your area likely received damage, and the companies you work with will have other customers to attend to, so prepare for some delays. For instance Reroof, a roofing company down in Orlando Florida, is still helping residents all over Florida repair their roofs from the hurricanes a few months ago. Depending on the area you live in, and the severity of the storm, it could be a while before your home is back to the way it was.
Prepare for the Next Storm
Finally, while you’re working to get your home back in order, you should also prepare for the next storm. Hurricanes can come quickly after one another, so you may not have much time to spare. Restock on supplies – such as food, water, batteries, or gas for your generator – and start examining your home to see if there are any preparations you can do better this time around. During the last storm some trees may have become damaged, and will need attending to before another storm arrives. If you don’t have time for a complete repair, consider patching things up as best you can. For example, if your roof is now leaking, consider replacing just those few shingles, and saving the entire roof repair for the Spring.
Hopefully you will never need the above advice. No one likes dealing with a hurricane, and particularly the aftermath when we start putting things back together. But if the time comes when a hurricane causes damage to your property, you’ll be glad you know the steps for what to do. Then you can quickly and efficiently work to get your home back in order, or ready for the next storm.