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Recovery: What to Do Coming Out of A Storm
In a matter of seconds, a severe storm, tornado, or hurricane can change your life. Sometimes it’s a small change, like repairing a scratch from a branch that hit your car door, or it can be a large and expensive change, like repairing your home, and sadly, it can also sometimes mean loss of life. To protect yourself and your family’s lives during a storm, please review these helpful suggestions from the National Weather Service and visit the South Carolina Emergency Management Division website for tips and a link to download their emergency app.
Recovery can be a very overwhelming time for many people, but being prepared and knowing what to expect during the recovery period before it happens, can help you get through the difficult times. A little bit of planning and learning can go a long way in helping you to be resilient.
Stay safe after a storm:
- If you have gas in your home, check for gas leaks (better yet, if you have the chance, turn the gas off before the storm hits!)
- Keep a close eye out for accidents waiting to happen, such as broken glass and exposed nails. Always wear proper shoes and make sure your family members are too, before venturing out to assess damages.
- You should always assume that any downed power lines are still active, posing a very real threat of electric shock. If you see a downed power line, call your power company and stay at least 10 feet away at all times from the line.
- If the disaster happens at night and you go out to inspect your home, use correct lighting from a headlamp or flashlight instead of open flames to survey the damages. If there is a gas leak, open flames increase the potential for an explosion. An open flame, in general, simply increases your risk for fire damage and should be avoided.
- If after the disaster you do smell gas, quickly shut off the main gas line and open your windows and doors (if possible) to create ventilation for your home. You should remove yourself and your family/pets from the home. The next step is to notify your utility company and remain out of the house until the proper authorities have cleared your home as safe to enter.
Be smart when repairing your home:
Sadly, after disasters, many bad actors try to take advantage of people. When you are deciding on who to contract with to make the repairs, make sure they are reliable and are trustworthy. Go with someone who has a great reputation in your community, ask friends and family who they worked within the past. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau to learn more about the company you would be hiring.
Be sure to ask questions and gather information from potential companies and don’t make any decisions without doing the above research. Scams are all too common after disasters. Be on the lookout for these common scam warning signs.
Know what’s in your insurance policies and what to expect in recovery:
Consumers purchase insurance in hopes of never having to use it, but when disaster strikes, it is there to help restore normalcy to their lives as much as possible.
Understanding your insurance policy can feel overwhelming at times. Take a quick look at this previous blog post from us to help you better understand your insurance policy.
But in short, here are some answers to a handful of the most common insurance questions:
- Are vehicles covered for storm-related damage?
- If you have Comprehensive coverage as part of your car insurance policy before the storm, then generally storm damage is covered, but you will have to pay a deductible.
- Do insurance rates go up due to storm damage claims?
- Your rates won’t go up because you specifically filed a claim, but as a general rule, insurance rates for areas that have been strongly impacted by a disaster could see an increase in policy prices due to the rising numbers of claims companies are having to payout. Even if you don’t file a claim, you could see an increase in your premiums if you’re in a high-risk area.
- How does one even begin to file a claim for storm damage?
- We understand that it can be very overwhelming to know where to start. Luckily the starting point is the same, whether the damage is great or small - simply call your agent or insurance company and let them know you need to file a claim. They will help you get through the rest step-by-step. To know what to expect for the claims payout process, you can take a look at another article of ours, here.
- What to do if the damage is less than the deductible?
- You probably have a good eye for how much damage has happened to your property, but you should still file a claim, even if you aren’t sure the damage is more than what your deductible is. After you report the claim, an expert will come out and inspect your damage and give you a repair estimate. It is then your choice to go with the claim or not, you may be surprised at what things are worth! It never hurts to explore all options.
Prepare for the next one:
We truly hope no one goes through a natural disaster - but they do happen in our state. From spring storms and tornadoes to hurricanes and flooding - even earthquakes! It is ideal to be prepared for whatever could come your way. Take a moment to review our Severe Weather Preparedness Guide and check out our Severe Weather Recovery page for more helpful links and information for creating a resilient life, even in the event of a disaster.