Read your insurance policy!
We just want to put that up front, because that insurance policy is going to be your foundation for recovering from the storm once it passes, so you need to make sure that you know what is and is not covered. And it won’t always be clear in the policy alone. For instance, most Kansas insurance providers will include wind damages with your basic homeowner’s policy, whether or not it’s explicitly stated, but flooding might require additional production. So figure out what’s covered, and read on:
Check the Damages
Right after the storm has passed, when it’s safe to take a look around the house, inside and out, take inventory of the damages. If you spot any damages that you can control, such as turning the water valve off to stop a broken pipe from ruining your floorboards, get that taken care of so that you won’t have to worry about “homeowner negligence” when filing your claim.
Call Your Insurer Right Away
As soon as you’ve gotten those damages under control, call your insurer, before you call any contractors. You want to protect yourself from storm chasers, door to door contractors who will get you to sign them on as a sole contractor, meaning that you can’t cancel payment on the check from your insurer when they do a poor job or fail to do the job at all. You can spot storm chasers by their aggressive sales tactics and big promises. Steer clear. Get your insurance agent on the phone and get an appraiser out to your home to tell you exactly what you need to be fixed.
Research Your Contractors Heavily
Every minute you spend on researching your contractors is a dollar saved not hiring a second crew to come in a month later and patch up the first crew’s job when their sawdust-and-wood-glue fix starts to crumble in a light rain. Where possible, it’s a good idea to hire locally. Local contractors may vary on price and the level of service they offer, but they’re generally going to be delivering honest work, not patching a leak up with shoddy materials so that they can take the money and run. Put bluntly: Ripping off your own neighbors is a dangerous game. Storm chasers move from one neighborhood to the next after cashing their checks. Local contractors are at least going to try their best because you don’t want to run into the guy you swindled in line at the local Starbucks.
Once you have all of this taken care of, take some time to relax. A storm is stressful, even if it was a mild storm, even if you didn’t see any serious damages this time. Hearing the wind and rain beating at your door, worrying that there might be some damages you missed when checking your home. It can get you on edge, and that anxiety is exactly what storm chasers prey on. So whatever you do, try to keep a level head.