6 Steps to Home Restoration After a Natural Disaster Strikes
Although your home might offer adequate protection against human intruders, natural disasters have more far-reaching effects. Other than the financial cost of a home restoration service, they can also trigger emotional challenges. For example, losing precious documents, family heirlooms, and other sentimental items can cause anxiety or stress. Other concerns include the physical safety of family members and anyone entering the area in the immediate aftermath.
Practical Home Restoration Tips
Depending on whether you’ve survived a flood, wildfire, earthquake, or extreme weather, the following steps will help you recover:
1. Put Safety First
A natural disaster creates chaos that might result in other dangerous situations. A flooded basement increases the risk of electrocution from exposed live electrical cables. Fire and water also cause structural damage that makes some parts of your house prone to collapse. It’s advisable to contract a home reconstruction service provider to assess the damage if you have safety concerns.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers various safety precautions that you should implement after a natural disaster. They include entering the damaged house during daylight, wearing protective equipment, and minimizing toxic chemicals. Avoid using lighters and leave the structure immediately when you identify a gas leak.
2. Prevent Further Damage
Most insurers require homeowners to do their best to prevent further destruction after a natural disaster. Immediate action removes stagnant water and stops materials from swelling, warping, rotting, and causing mold. The process involves checking affected walls, cabinets, floorboards, among other structural elements. Remove furniture, carpets, and other fittings that got soaked to avoid bacteria buildup.
Although you might have some DIY skills that may come in handy, a home reconstruction requires specialized skills. Even as you fix problems here and there, leave the roof, electrical fixtures, and similar tasks to experts.
3. Record All Essential Details
Floods, wildfires, and other natural disasters cause widespread damage to several homes. Insurance companies, state authorities, and federal agencies receive overwhelming requests for aid. They’ll resolve your claim faster if you provide clear evidence of the damage to your home. It will also be easier for the concerned authorities to estimate how much reconstruction services will charge for repairs.
The documentation should include pictures and videos showing the affected walls, roofing, and floor. Capture the serial numbers of all damaged appliances and keep receipts detailing any home reconstruction service. You may also submit samples of damaged insulation and floor. They’ll come in handy when determining the extent of your claim.
4. Create A Restoration Checklist
A checklist improves efficiency during cleaning, remodeling, and restoration. It’s a plan that includes everything you plan to repair, from tiny dents to huge holes in your walls or roof. The aftermath of a natural disaster can be physically and emotionally draining. This plan also helps you figure out what your family needs the most.
Examples include medication, replacement materials, essential documents, insurance policy documents, computer backups, and temporary shelter. After creating an extensive list, you can prioritize the most urgent tasks. If you always wanted to make additions to your home, now’s a good time to factor in new designs.
5. Hire Qualified Contractors
The home restoration service industry has several trustworthy contractors. Unfortunately, you can also encounter those who will do a shoddy job or fail to complete repairs. Some are storm chasers who swindle desperate homeowners. Although these skills will be in high demand after a natural disaster, always perform due diligence before hiring.
Notify your insurance provider immediately for damage assessment. Since disaster cleanup is a specialized process, ensure you pick a licensed and insured contractor who conforms to the highest industry standards. If in doubt, confirm with the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC).
6. Work Closely with Your Insurer
Insurance companies rarely accept a claim without thoroughly evaluating its eligibility. Notify your provider as soon as possible and honor any requests they make concerning your damaged house. Remember to make prompt premium payments to prevent future disputes when disaster strikes. Ensure the insurance-appointed adjuster is qualified to survey the property and make decisions regarding claims.
Document what the adjuster says to ensure it aligns with your settlement. You may always appeal if you feel like the amount granted is lower than what the damage is worth. If the insurance company rejects your appeal, you may take the case to the state insurance regulator through an attorney. There’s also a chance that your plan won’t cover water damage or the particular natural disaster you suffer. If that’s the case, seek assistance via local authorities, state agencies, or FEMA.
Although a natural disaster can cause untold misery, picking the right service provider mitigates its effects. It not only consoles your family during trying times but also allows you to design and build a better replacement. A licensed and insured contractor adheres to safety procedures, does proper planning, and conforms to the highest construction standards.
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