If your home was damaged by a hurricane, learn what to do next.
1. Protect yourself
Your safety is most important.
Always be careful when entering a damaged building. If there is serious structural damage, contact local officials before entering. Report downed power lines or gas leaks. Keep electricity turned off if the building has been flooded.
2. Clean up safely
*Adjusters may tell home owners to hire a professional cleaning service
Safety remains a priority throughout the process.
When starting the cleanup process, be careful, and use protective eyewear and gloves if available.
- Use the correct personal protective equipment, including eye protection and gloves, when clearing debris.
- Do not wade through standing water.
- Avoid downed power lines and assume they are live.
- Use generators safely. Learn about choosing and using a generator safely from the American Red Cross.
3. Protect your property
Even minor damage to shingles can lead to water entering your home. You may be able to prevent further damage.
Shingles can be easily damaged in hurricane winds. This can lead to water getting into your home. Be sure to check your attic for evidence of water or standing water.
4. Report losses as soon as possible
If you see damage or suspect water damage, the sooner you act the better.
Contact your insurance agent or insurer as soon as you can. Provide a general description of the damage and have your policy number handy if possible. Write down the adjuster’s name, phone number and work schedule as soon as you have them.
5. Document damage
Your claim will be easier to process.
Document or keep damaged items. Be sure to enable geotagging (turn on location services) when taking photographs or video, which may help ease your claims process because it verifies the location of your items.
6. Keep receipts
Ease the claims process with good record-keeping.
If you need to relocate, keep records and receipts for all additional expenses. Most insurance policies cover emergency living arrangements.
7. Return claim forms
Some paperwork is vital to processing your claim.
After your insurance company has been notified of your claim, they must send you the necessary claim forms within a certain number of days (time period varies by state). Fill out and return the forms as soon as possible. If you do not understand the process, be sure to ask questions and write down the explanation.
8. Build back stronger
When Mother Nature strikes, the results can be devastating, and even if you’re lucky enough to experience only minor damage, rebuilding and repairing a home isn’t easy. FORTIFIED can help make the process simpler by providing a network of trained professionals who can help you every step of the way. If you’ve very recently experienced a storm and you’re ready to rebuild, find specific information for the FORTIFIED construction method to make your home stronger and better able to withstand the next storm.