04 Jun What to do after the storm
After Tuesday night’s hail here in OKC, we thought we would share a few ideas for our local fans on how to help your landscape recover following severe weather. So, here is a checklist of sorts for dealing with the aftermath in your outdoor living spaces.
Although you think you know what your insurance company covers, it has been our experience that you never really know the full details until something happens. We highly recommend that after a severe weather event, or any serious damage to your landscape that you wait until it is safe to do so, then document everything.
Use the video function on your phone, or another digital device to capture the yard, even areas that do not seem damaged at first glance. Move slower than you think you should. You never know when the camera might catch something you missed.
Photograph any areas that are obviously damaged. They will need to be seen by the adjuster to make certain, but, some elements may be covered, including plants, structures such as fences and sheds, and even lighting and ornaments, depending on your policy. Even if these things don’t matter, adding them to your claim can help absorb the cost of the deductible to give you enough to get the important stuff done!
In the interest of keeping your family safe, you should always start with the house first. Ensure that all broken glass is removed and broken windows are boarded up and sealed. Any problems with electric, gas or water should immediately be reported, and if you know how, shut off the service to any area that is leaking gas or water, or has exposed the electric wiring.
Outside the House
Once the yard has been documented thoroughly, clean up can begin. While you should never demolish a shed that you think is a total loss, you can remove dangerous branches, sweep up glass and remove obstructions.
You will also want to make sure any perimeter walls and fences are secure so that pets cannot escape, or other animals or trespassers enter your property through broken areas.
Do not touch anything electrical, unless you know for sure that what you are doing is safe. Many outdoor elements are low voltage and pose small to no threat, but unless you installed it, make sure it is safe before moving wires or other electrical elements.
Save the Cleanup
Sometimes it helps to save the details of clean up until the adjuster has at least surveyed the scene. There is a psychological factor involved, even for professionals, and seeing things in their actual state is the best way for them to determine the severity of the event.
This doesn’t mean you can’t sweep up glass, and remove dangerous debris, as previously outlined, but major cleanup may be a part of what your insurance company will cover. City services also provide hauling and cleanup, so check into those services before paying someone.
Call your Agent
Start by calling your insurance agent and asking them what procedure to follow. If they have a national claims number, you might be better served by having an independent adjuster look first. Some will take a look to tell you if they think there is a claim, or not. Insurance companies may mark your policy with a claim, even if one is not filed ultimately, just for calling their adjuster out, so be aware.
We Can Help
Last but not least, we do help our clients in situations like this. You can leave a message here, visit our website, or visit us on Facebook and we will be glad to be a part of your recovery process!