Severe weather such as the recent tornadoes in our state may cause you to think about your own storm preparation, and whether you would know what to do in the event of storm damage to your home. There is obviously no way to control how a natural disaster affects the condition of your home, but there are things you can do both before and after it hits to minimize its effects on your life and livelihood.
Be aware of the possibilities. As we Illinois residents have seen in the past week or so, no home or community is insusceptible to disaster. Losses in the first six months of this year amounted to nearly $7.9 billion in the United States.
Keep an inventory of items in your home. Take photos or video of the contents of each room, and make a written list of your property. Hold on to receipts for higher-priced items such as furniture, electronics and kitchen appliances and include their approximate age, replacement cost and serial numbers. Keep at least one copy of this inventory somewhere other than your home. You can also use this list to help you decide when to replace or upgrade appliances and other household items.
Look over your insurance. Once a year, you should read through your homeowners policy to know the extent of your coverage. Consider if the policy would cover the cost to replace your home and furnishings in the event of destruction, if it covers a hotel room or apartment if the house becomes unlivable, and other potential costs you may encounter. Ask your insurance provider what options are available so you can make a decision as to which is best for you.
In the unfortunate event that your home receives damage from a storm, don’t delay your claim. Contact your insurer immediately, no matter what time of day or night. If you are able to repair some things on your own, keep receipts of any acquired expenses to give the insurance adjuster later.
Document the damage. Similar to your home inventory, take photographs or video of the damage to your home and its contents. Your cell phone camera is sufficient for this task.
Be patient. Recovering from these types of events is not an easy experience and can take a lot of time and energy out of you. However, you should not rush to settle your insurance claim, and take your time when deciding about rebuilding.
Seek contractors with experience. Make sure the contractor you hire for any repairs is licensed, bonded and insured. They should also have experience with these kinds of repairs.
Of course, we never wish for storms or the damage and destruction that may come with them. However, we are here to help and make recovery as easy as possible.
Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune