Colorado sees its share of storms in both the Winter and Summer. Being prepared means stocking up your first aid kit, canned goods, and other emergency supplies, but it also means being prepared to manage the aftermath of the storm. Even a mild storm can leave damage in its wake that demands immediate attention. Here’s how to stay safe once the storm has passed:
Damage control is something you’ll be covering in a few steps:
- Read your insurance policy. Preferably BEFORE the storm hits. You need to know what’s covered and what isn’t, and if you have any questions, call your insurer. Chances are you’re covered on wind damages, even though your policy might not state that explicitly, but flooding might require additional protection. If you’re comfortable with your current level of coverage, great. If not, a little extra protection can buy you a lot of peace of mind. You also want to know what your responsibilities are as a homeowner.
- Keep things from getting worse. If you’ve got an outlet sparking, shut the power off in that part of the house. If you’ve got a leaky roof, put a bucket under it. If you have wet floorboards, point a room fan at the wet spot. Your insurer will cover the initial damages of the storm most of the time, but if you let a problem get worse when you could have fixed it, that’s on you.
- Get your insurance appraiser out there right away. Call your agent, file your claim, and get your check. Storm chasers are hucksters who go door to door getting signed on as a sole contractor, meaning that you can’t cancel payment on the check when they disappear on you before starting the job, need to get to you before your insurer to work their con. So calling your insurer before your contractors will make you a hard target for these guys to swindle.
The easiest way to avoid storm chasers is to simply not trust door-to-door sales tactics. But you still need to hire a contractor.
- Research your crew. If they don’t have any presence online, it’s because they’re not a real company. If they don’t have any positive reviews, it’s probably because they do shoddy work. The more you know, the more informed a decision you can make.
- Hire local, where possible. Storm chasers tend not to work locally. You don’t want to take the money and run, and then bump into the client you stiffed at the library a week later. If you hire local, you hire a contractor with a reputation to maintain.
- Don’t sign anyone on as a sole contractor. Pay them from the money your insurer gives you. It sounds like a weight off your shoulders to let them work directly with your insurer, but this means you have no say in the repairs on your own house. BE the middleman so that you can control the proceedings.
Finally: Stay calm. Cool heads always prevail, before, during, and after any emergency