Being so close to Lake Superior, both Cloquet and Duluth can be hit with terrible storms, especially when summer rolls around. Your home should be adequately prepared for the possible ensuing damage. Moreover, you should be prepared to make a fast and accurate insurance claim when you need to. Ahead, learn more about proper storm damage preparations and how to make insurance claims in the correct manner.
How to Prevent Damage Before a Storm
- Clear tree branches that hang over your home, as well as any nearby branches or trees that are dead or rotting.
- Fix broken fences, bricks, siding, shingles, and/or roof tiles.
- Clear your yard. Make sure there’s nothing that could fly up, topple over, or be otherwise damaged.
- Check out your homeowner’s policy. Be sure you understand what’s covered and what’s not.
- Keep an eye on the weather during storm season.
How to Make an Insurance Claim the Right Way
Before calling your insurance agency, make sure everyone in your home is safe. If you can’t get out of your house because debris or other hazards are blocking your exit, call 9-1-1 for help. Make sure other immediate dangers and hazards are taken care of as soon as possible.
Next, you’ll need to take steps to secure your home from additional damage. Down power lines should be reported immediately, and windows should be boarded up if they’ve been broken. Doors should be fixed, and other holes that are open to the elements should be repaired as well. You don’t want pests, animals, or precipitation to enter your home and cause even more damage. In fact, in order to abide by your insurance contract, this is your responsibility.
Next, your insurance company needs to know ASAP that you’ve had storm damage so that they can start filing a claim. Listen to their instructions. In all likelihood, they’ll request that you take photographs of the damage for their adjustor’s inspection. Most of the time, the adjuster will also visit your house and tour the damage in person.
NOTE: While insurance will probably cover the damage caused by high winds. Flooding is a rarely covered event in most home policies.
How to Pick a Contractor You Can Trust
To repair your home, you’ll need to get a contractor. Selecting an honest, trustworthy contractor can be a challenge if you’ve never done it before. Basically, you’ll need to select someone skilled and reputable, who is also able to offer a free, written quote on your project.
Don’t know who to choose? Ask your insurance agent as, most of the time, they’ll be able to recommend a qualified candidate. Hiring their preferred choice might even come with a discount for you (though keep in mind, this is not always the case). If your agent can’t recommend anyone or you don’t like who they’ve chosen to endorse, ask family, friends, or neighbors to recommend a licensed contractor they’ve worked with before.
If it seems good too good to be true, it probably is …
After a large storm, keep your eyes peeled for what the contracting industry calls “storm chasers.” A storm chaser is a contractor who undercuts the prices of other local contractors and claims to be able to make perfect repairs in a short amount of time.
You’ll notice, however, that these contractors won’t be from the Duluth or Cloquet area. In fact, they are scam artists who go to areas where there’s been severe weather damage and take advantage of homeowners. Don’t let such a scheme happen to you by always choosing an established contractor who is from the Duluth or Cloquet area. When in doubt, ask to see references and proof of insurance and licensing.
With locations in both Cloquet and Duluth, Great Lakes Insurance is always available to answer your questions and concerns about homeowners insurance. Looking for a new plan? Need to change your current policy? Contact us today.