Whether or not you’re in a floodplain, Arizona monsoon season can bring devastating consequences. In addition to flooding, the strongest storms can produce hurricane-force gusts with little warning. Keep reading to learn more about what you should do if your home is damaged.
First, Plan Ahead
The most important thing to do is be prepared and plan ahead. Start by making sure you have the right insurance limits. Depending on what kind of policy you choose, your limits may or may not automatically adjust based on your home’s value or current construction costs. In addition, you should make sure your personal property coverage is high enough to cover any new belongings you purchased since you last reviewed your policy.
You should also check for any policy exclusions. Wind damage is typically covered, but flooding rarely is unless you purchased separate coverage.
Protect Your Home From Further Damage
After the storm, do what you can to prevent further damage. In addition to wanting to protect sentimental items that survived the initial storm and make your recovery process easier, your insurance contract will almost certainly require you to take steps to mitigate damage.
Your first priority is to protect against water damage by covering any holes in your roof or windows with a tarp or other material. Next, board up any broken windows or damaged doors to protect against looters. Finally, remove any trees or other objects that may be at risk of falling onto your home.
Contact Your Insurance Agent
Start the claims process as soon as possible. Your insurance agent is there to help you get through it.
Following a large storm, the insurance company will often send representatives into your area to take claims and photograph the damage. If not, you want to call to learn what to do. Keep in mind that even if it’s a large storm that makes the news, your insurance company isn’t officially aware of your claim until you follow the claims process by the required deadline. Check your policy for details.
Get Contractor Estimates
Seek out repair estimates from multiple contractors. If many homes were damaged, they’ll be busy, but be sure to balance getting a fast repair with getting it done right.
Ask for more than just price. Find out what work will be done, what materials will be used, and if they’ll be making a repair or replacement. Also, get in writing what happens if the contractor doesn’t deliver on time to protect yourself from the contractor overbooking and delaying your work.
Check with your insurance company to see what their policy is regarding estimates or whether they have a list of preferred contractors.
Watch Out for Storm Chasers
Storm chasers are disreputable contractors from outside of the area who look to take advantage of the storm. They come in following big storms by promising cheap, fast work — often by going door to door — but rarely deliver. Homeowners who use these storm chasers often end up having to pay more to finish or redo an incomplete or poorly done repair. Don’t pick a contractor without knowing exactly who they are.
To learn more about how to protect yourself from storm chasers or the right way to recover from a storm, talk to Vanyo Insurance.