Did Your Home Get Damaged in a Storm?
Mother Nature can be unpredictable, and sometimes a little shady. Some storms cause instant and obvious damage to your home. Other times, the damage might not be as noticeable. We’ve come up with some useful tips to help you discover the potential damage you can’t see.
Check Out the Roof
The roof is pretty open and exposed, making it a prime target for a bad storm, and often takes the brunt of punishment. If you think damage has been done, the only way to really tell is to check it out, from the safety of ground level, of course. Can you see any raised or missing shingles? You might even find some in your yard or your neighbor’s. Inspect gutters and downspouts for dents and see if any large pieces of roof have washed down. The best time to look for dents in gutters and downspouts is typically at dawn or dusk when the shadows work in your favor to highlight damage. Very large dents can typically be seen at any time of day. Remember to walk around your whole house. Hail and wind storms tend to be directional so one side may be damaged while the other three sides look perfectly fine.
If you have an attic or a crawlspace, it’s also a good idea to check the area for any water leaks or peeks of sunlight coming through. A thorough inspection, performed by an expert, of your roof from top and bottom will give you the best view on storm damage.
What if there’s a wait? If there are a lot of homes in need of repair, you may find that there’s a long line ahead of you. You may need to use a temporary fix to prevent further damages while you’re waiting for an adjustor and then maybe even longer while you wait for your turn in the repair line. Your contractor will be able to give you some tips on how to protect your property from further damage, but tarps and boards can often do the job in the meantime. If you’ve got your phone or camera handy, document any steps you take to stop the damage, just to be on the safe side. Then go an extra step and save your receipts and track the time you put into temporarily fixing your damages.
Have You Reviewed Your Insurance Lately?
Your homeowners insurance is going to be your primary go-to if you’re in a storm. If you haven’t experienced storm damage yet, but want to make sure you’re covered if you do, there are some additional endorsements you can consider adding to your homeowners insurance to help with covered charges.
Matching siding coverage. If you have vinyl or metal siding that is damaged during a storm you may really appreciate having matching siding coverage. Imagine you have to repair one entire side of your home but when your contractor goes to make the order, he discovers your color has been discontinued. If you have this added endorsement you not only get covered for the damaged side of your home, but you get up to $20,000 toward new siding for the rest of your home so it once again matches.
Actual cash value vs. replacement cost. One thing to discuss with your agent is whether you want replacement cost or actual cash value coverage for your roof. They’ll be happy to explain which coverage is best for your home.
Optional higher deductible. If you’re the kind of person who is more comfortable with risk, you might want to opt for a higher wind/hail deductible or a percentage deductible. This will mean you pay more out of pocket if there is storm damage, but it could save you a bit on your regular premiums. It’s just one of many ways you can customize your insurance to fit your lifestyle.
Need to File a Hail Claim?
Remember, the most important thing in any storm is your safety and the safety of your loved ones. Once Mother Nature has left, then it’s time to take stock of your property and assess any damages.
If you have questions or need to file a storm claim, enroll in My Account to file a claim or reach out to your American Family Insurance agent to learn more. They’ll be happy to walk you through the process and help you get on the road to recovery.
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