Residential Claims

After the Storm Guide for Residential Property Owners

A storm can cause major devastation to a residential property. Homeowners may feel frightened and confused about the process of filing a claim, negotiating compensation and accepting a settlement. There are many things to consider, some of which begin when the homeowners first learn about the damage.

Begin by Being Organized and Ready

Gather all relevant information and documents you may need during an emergency. Write down contact information and make copies for every member of your family. Make an emergency plan for your family including:

  • Communication before, during, and after the storm
  • Evacuation or shelter-in-place plans
  • Provisions for family members with special needs
  • Location of vital records and insurance policies
  • Provisions for caring for your pet
  • What to do if children are in school or daycare
  • Instructions for shutting off utilities

In addition to creating an emergency plan, you need to build an emergency kit. Your emergency kit should include everything you need to survive for a minimum of three days, including water, food, medication, and other necessities. Do not forget to add batteries, battery-operated radio, extra clothing, first aid kit, and pet supplies.

As you are preparing for a disaster, you need to review insurance policies to ensure you have ample coverage. In addition, you need to make sure that you have the correct types of coverage, including flood insurance and replacement value insurance.

Basic Supplies to Have on Hand to Prepare Your Home for a Storm

If you live in a flood-prone area or a high-risk area for storms, you may want to keep some basic supplies on hand to make preparing for a storm easier, quicker, and less costly. For example, if you live near the coast, you may want to keep basic supplies on hand for securing your home. These supplies tend to sell out very quickly when a hurricane warning is issued. Supplies to keep on hand to secure your home include:

  • Plywood or boards for windows and doors
  • Nails, duct tape, hurricane straps, clips, and braces
  • Vent covers
  • Plastic sheeting, tarps, or wrap
  • Caulking
  • Waterproof containers
  • Rope
  • Shovel
  • Leather gloves
  • Head and foot bolts for doors
  • “Sandless” sandbags (flood barriers, flood bags, water curbs, floodgate, etc.)
  • Portable generator

Checklist for Basic Preparedness Tips

It can be very helpful to create a checklist of the steps you should take to prepare for a storm. It can be very stressful and frightening when a major storm is headed your way. Having a written checklist can help you take care of everything quickly and efficiently.

Some items you may want to add to your checklist include:

  • Check and/or restock emergency kits
  • Nails, duct tape, hurricane straps, clips, and braces
  • Vent covers
  • Review communication plan with each family member
  • Choose a shelter or evacuation route
  • Review plan for sheltering in place and evacuating
  • Put together a “go bag” in case you need to leave quickly
  • Refill medications
  • Check flashlights and other equipment to ensure the batteries are working – store extra batteries with each item
  • Secure your home, including securing or bringing inside any outdoor furniture or items that can blow away and securing rain gutters and downspouts
  • Call your central contact person to let him or her know your plans for the storm
  • Fill vehicle with gas
  • Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest setting and avoid opening in case electricity is lost
  • Charge cell phone and all other electronic devices – keep all items at a full charge until power is lost
  • Tune to local stations to monitor updates about the storm

The more you prepare, the better your chance of weathering the storm safely.