Whew! We certainly dodged a big bullet this last week, didn’t we? Even though some are not so lucky in places like Haiti and the Bahamas, the East Coast could have gotten a lot worse outcome, especially if people didn’t heed warnings and Matthew decided to be more fierce. But aside from some flooding in areas and down trees, most survived quite well. The Sunset Beach Causeway was underwater and people were stranded out on the islands. But things are getting back to normal and people are returning to their homes.
But what should you do when you return? What are some of the first steps to take in order to assess your property?
First off, check the roof. Are there any shingles or pieces missing? 50-60 MPH winds can do some serious damage to your roof. Inspect the attic for leaks or water damage or stains on the ceiling inside the house. Did any branches fall and damage the roof? Hopefully you didn’t return home to find a tree through your house. If so, call your insurance and take pictures right away. Don’t actually get ON the roof as it may be unstable but check for any loose shingles or shutters and make notes and take pictures for insurance purposes and/or repair people.
Did you have any flooding during the storm? Storm surges can really bring a lot of water inland as well as flooded rivers and lakes. Check with your insurance to make sure you have flood insurance and if there is any damage you’ll want it cleaned up professionally to avoid any mold or permanent water damage. NOTE: Most flood insurance policies require a 30-day waiting period so don’t put off getting coverage if there is s next time.
Read more: Facts and Myths on Flooding
Many insurance providers offer specific policies for coastal homes. Most deductibles typically have a set dollar amount but hurricane deductibles are set as a percentage of the home’s value. Be sure to ask your insurance provider if it covers her can deductibles and ask what those are from your insurance agent.
Document and secure
After a hurricane or major storm has struck you want to photograph and document any damage. This can make the insurance claims much easier and it will keep a running list of all damaged items. Ask your insurance agent if there is a home inventory that they should be taking as policyholders. This is a list the documents the contents of your home. It can include photographs with detailed descriptions or even receipts.
Don’t wait to file a claim. Insurance companies will be working hard over the next couple of months and they typically work on a first come, first-serve basis. Contact your provider right away and let them know the extent of the damage. You will probably have an insurance adjuster come to the property and assess the damage themselves.
Remember and reflect
One of the most important things to remember if you are all safe that a house is simply things. As long as you, your family and perhaps pets got out safely, rebuilding and managing from here is doable.
We pray each of you is safe, healthy and back at home in Brunswick County!
Read more: How to Protect Your Coastal Home