What to Do After a Hurricane
Hurricanes can leave a lot of damage in their wake, so being prepared to handle the aftermath can help make recovery smoother and less stressful. If you’ve recently survived a hurricane, take a deep breath and begin to rebuild with these after-hurricane safety tips.
10 Things to Do After a Hurricane Strikes
Find your loved ones. Part of your hurricane preparation should include establishing a meeting place or an out-of-state contact that everyone can call or text. Remember that cell phone towers are usually clogged with call traffic after a disaster, so text messages or even social media accounts to communicate can be a great way to make contact. You can even use Facebook’s disaster check-in system to let distant loved ones know you’re okay.
Don’t go home until it’s safe. There may still be dangers, even after the storm has passed. Listen to a weather radio or other communications from authorities so you know when it’s safe to go home. Follow all designated routes on your way back — some roads may be closed from flooding or damage.
Document the damage. Start taking pictures of everything. It’s always best to document any damage and cleanup so your insurance company can see what happened. If you have access to one, use a video drone to take footage of the damage, especially if the property is too dangerous to traverse.
Contact your insurance company. Let your insurance agent know that you were involved in a hurricane and ask them what your next steps are in filing a claim. If you need to file a claim with American Family for wind damage from a hurricane or report other damage covered by any add-on coverage you have to your homeowners insurance, you can text STORM to 23626 or call our claims center at 1-800-MYAMFAM (1-800-692-6326).
Apply for assistance. If your county qualifies for Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) assistance, then you can register here to get help for your home. FEMA can help cover things your homeowners or business insurance doesn’t. Learn more about FEMA’s Individual Disaster Assistance to understand if your situation qualifies for a grant.
Stay out of the water. Standing water and flood water can be particularly hazardous. It can hide swift currents, be littered with debris and bacteria or be electrically charged. It is best to avoid it whenever possible. And even if there isn’t standing water — watch your step as previously sturdy floors may now be unstable.
Prevent further damage. If it’s safe enough, you can take steps to prevent the damage from worsening. Tarps can come in handy to protect your property from additional rain damage. You may also want to move items to a safe and dry place, like a storage facility. Your homeowners insurance can continue to cover your personal belongings even if they’re stored off-site.
Listen to local clean up news and advisories. Local agencies will be offering aid and important information throughout the process. Stay on top of cleanup efforts so you know when crews will be in your area and where to put the debris.
Dehumidify your home. Open all doors and windows to get air moving. If your electric company has given approval to use electricity, start running fans and air conditioners to remove as much moisture as possible. Waterlogged furniture, bedding and carpeting should be documented, photographed and then removed.
Help others. If you were lucky enough to escape damage or have minimal cleanup — reach out to others in your region who may not be able to manage the task themselves. A helping hand is always appreciated after a natural disaster.
To find out more about hurricane insurance, connect with your American Family Insurance agent. They can help you customize your homeowners insurance with flood coverage and other add-ons so you can protect what matters most.