Written By: Christy Neilson
We have had a pretty low key summer until this past Tuesday when storms hit the area taking down trees, flooding streets and raising havoc on personal property. We are not often hit with this kind of damage, so what do you do when bad weather rolls in and affects you personally?
Listed below are a few tips to get the cleanup process headed in the right direction with less headaches down the road. To learn more the Minnesota Department of Commerce has an extended list at https://mn.gov/commerce/consumers/your-home/protect/dic/.
1.) Record the Damage
Take pictures and video. Make a detailed list of what was damaged, and do not dispose of anything until an adjuster visits your property.
2.) Make temporary repairs yourself or hire a licensed professional to prevent further damage
These repairs may include boarding up windows or covering exposed roofs and other structures with tarps so damage can be minimized. Keep receipts of materials purchased so you can be reimbursed by your insurance provider. By all means do not try to fix anything close to electrical wires or areas that are not structurally sound.
3.) Notify your insurance company right away if the damage is significant enough to warrant a claim
Many companies provide free estimates so if the damage is small enough where it does not surpass your deductible, it may be wise to know the cost to fix the damage prior to calling it in to your insurance company. You do not want to call in a claim just to see what the cost may be, because It could affect your premiums down the road.
4.) Avoid storm chasers
Storm chasers are also known as door knockers. They are quick to say you have damage and typically want you to sign a contract on site. They travel the country looking for opportunities. It is best to stick with a local, licensed, insured and bonded company. Typically companies such as these are not high pressure, provide free estimates and have the resources and programs in place to work with your insurance company should it become a claim.
5.) As a homeowner you always have the final say in who you use to restore your property
Ask for referrals from neighbors and your insurance agent. Check out companies online, but do your research, and make sure they have a local physical address listed on their website. Check reviews and ask for references on previous jobs and make sure everything is in writing.
Written By: Christy Neilson
Summer is upon us and that also means the potential for strong storms that can cause damage to your home. One element in particular that can cause destruction is hail, but how do you know when you have enough damage to warrant a claim?
Identifying true hail damage can be tricky to the naked eye if you are not an expert, especially the kind insurance will be willing to pay for to have siding and roofs replaced. Although hailstorms can be destructive, the amount of damage can vary greatly. Your next door neighbor could have hail damage, but that does not necessarily mean your home does as well. So what should you do? What steps do you take to know for sure?
If you suspect you have hail damage, the first step would be to call your insurance agent for a referral or contact a reputable locally established company, such as J. Benson Construction, to come out and inspect your roof and siding at no charge. Should a company come knocking on your door, be very cautious. There are many storm chasers that canvass recently hit areas and as soon as the work is done they are on to the next. An established local company is always a better option because they've built up their reputation doing quality work in the community, and they are there to answer questions should they arise down the road long after the work has been completed.
The next step would be determining the weather or not there is damage. We hear the question often, "how can my neighbor have damage, and my house does not?" Some factors that affect the type and degree of damage from a hailstorm include wind speeds, building materials used, age of the roof, size and density of the hailstones and both physical and natural barriers. The simple positioning of a large tree, for example, can reduce the ability for hail to cause damage. Shingles can react differently when struck. Damage to asphalt shingles can look very different opposed to wood shingles. On an asphalt roof, hail damage looks like a dark spot, or bruise, where the roof's granules have been knocked away. Wood shingles can have no discernible pattern.
Roofs are not the only structures affected by a hail storm; siding, windows and exterior structures need to be evaluated as well. The most common signs you will see with siding damage are cracking, chipping and holes. Hail effects on windows are more obvious and can include breaks or damage to the seals. Exterior appliances such as air conditioners can have dents or take in excessive amounts of water.
As you can see, there are so many variables when trying to determine if you have hail damage that it is best to have a trained professional and licensed contractor, such as J. Benson Construction, who knows what to look for come out to view your property and give a free analysis and estimate. Time is money, they say, and there is a limited amount of time in which to submit the claim.