How To Protect Your Property From Storm Damage

It’s that time of year. Spring storms have been barreling across the country leaving in its wake death and destruction. Here in Middle TN we have been hit over the last couple weeks several times, and the damage to trees and property is impressive.

If you find yourself dealing with storm damage, do you know what to do? Where do you start?

Here’s a to-do list to follow when dealing with storm damage:

1. Secure your property

This is a very important step. You should protect your property from additional damage. If you are negligent in securing your property, your insurance company may deny additional damages occurring after the initial incident.  Most people don’t read their insurance policy and most plans state that the owner is to take prudent measures to secure the property from additional damages.  If a fallen tree creates a hole in your house and you don’t cover the hole, additional damage caused by rain may not be covered.

2. Assess the damage

While most folks will rush to call their insurance carrier, it’s important to evaluate the damage and costs to repair before dialing your carrier.  Remember an adjuster will not come out until a claim is filed. Even if the carrier doesn’t pay a penny, the claim will still be noted in the insured’s records, so repeatedly calling the adjuster out to your home may cause an increase to your insurance premium….even if no claims were actually paid.  If the damage is large and you are sure the claim will be more than your deductible, by all means contact your carrier…..that’s why they are there. Just don’t call them to help you with the small stuff.

3. Take an inventory

Take detailed notes of what happened, when it happened, and how it happened. List what was damaged. Also save receipts for any items you had to purchase to secure your property. If you had to pay someone to secure your property, you should save those receipts as well.

4. Take Pictures

A picture is worth a thousand words. You’ve heard it many times, and it’s true! Take pictures as soon as the property is secured and you feel it is safe to do so.

While the instinctual post storm damage move is to pick up the phone and contact your insurance carrier, the call to your insurer may not be the wisest decision. If you follow the steps listed above, you may keep yourself from digging a bigger financial hole.

About the author

Troy Von Haefen, CFP®
Troy Von Haefen, CFP®

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