Owning a home can be fun and exciting, but it is also a major responsibility. As a homeowner, it is your job to keep the house in safe condition, especially during inclement weather. Proper maintenance can help protect your home, but sometimes you can do everything right and still sustain roof damage.
After the storm passes and conditions are safe, check the outside of your home for any damage it may have sustained from high winds, hail, water, or debris. It is important to do this before you contact your insurance company so you can collect documentation for your claim. Use this Storm Damage Checklist for steps to take after a storm.
1. Attend to safety first.
While you are inspecting your home inside and out, please do so as safely as possible. Keep an eye out for slippery patches of water or ice, damaged or exposed electrical lines, broken glass, and other hazards. Assume that any downed power lines are dangerous; stay away from these and alert the utility company. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, shut off the main gas line, open all the windows, and then immediately go outside. Notify the gas company and do not return to your home until they tell you it’s safe.
2. Check for wind damage.
The roof of your home can sustain major damage after high winds like tornadoes or derechos. The structure of your home may also be compromised, so it is important to identify issues as soon as possible. When it is safe, inspect your roof for visible damage. This can include bent, torn, or cracked shingles, which leave the waterproofing exposed. High winds can also cause shingles to curl or lift, allowing water infiltration that can cause additional harm like mold, mildew, or even roof collapse.
3. Check for hail damage.
Hail can cause a lot of damage to your siding and roof. After a hailstorm, you may see loose granules from shingles and a lot of dents or marks in shingles and siding. The problem is more than cosmetic, however. The granules help protect your roof against sun and water damage, so it is important to repair shingles in a timely manner.
4. Document the damage.
When you discover damage to your home, take pictures before doing any cleanup. This will put you in the best position to recover full compensation for your losses from your homeowners insurance policy.
5. Clear standing water .
After heavy rain or snow, standing water could cause major problems for your home. Gutters can become clogged and backed up with rainwater, which can then flow underneath shingles. That moisture, especially if left alone, can penetrate the roof deck and get into your home’s interior. If you find standing water, avoid stepping in it until you are sure the power is off. If you have a sump pump, try to turn it back on to discharge as much water as possible. Because water damage can lead to mold growth, it threatens your family’s health as well as your home.
6. Remove debris .
After severe weather, it can be common to see debris on the ground and on top of buildings. This can include both small branches and heavy tree limbs. No matter the size, debris can cause major damage to your roof. Because debris can compromise the structural integrity of your home, it is important to remove it as soon as possible. You can do this yourself if it is safe, but remember to take pictures for your insurance company beforehand.
7. Contact your insurance company.
Once you have inspected the damage and documented as much as you can, contact your insurance company to file a claim. When you file, give them the pictures you took and any receipts from temporary living expenses. Your insurance provider will work with you to get things repaired and working again, but the process may take some time.
Repairing storm damage is easier and safer when done by a trustworthy professional. If repairs are not completed in a timely and efficient manner, your home could suffer additional damage. To learn more about protecting your home from storm damage, subscribe to our blog.