Don't Get Caught Off-Guard: What to Do When Your Home Is Damaged in a Disaster

There's never a good time for an emergency. However, there are good ways to handle those emergency situations, especially where your house is concerned. You never know when a disaster is going to strike. When it does, you need to know the steps you need to take to for the recovery. Here are four steps you need to take if your home has been through a disaster. 

Handle the Initial Emergency

If disaster has struck your home and family, you need to handle the initial emergency. For instance, if your home is flooding, there are steps you need to take to get ahead of the situation. The first thing you need to do is make sure that everyone in your household is safe and accounted for. Next, you'll want to assess the flooding. If flooding is a result of a broken water line, get the water turned off to your home as quickly as possible. This step will help to control the water damage. If flooding is caused by a natural disaster, and you can't evacuate right away, head for the highest spot in your home, even if that spot is your roof. Wait there until help can arrive. 

Assess the Immediate Situation

Once you've been able to get your family to safety, you'll want to assess the situation. This should include an assessment of the actual damage to your home, as well as the main location of the damage. This isn't the time to start cleaning things up. Before you can begin the cleaning process, you'll need to take pictures of the entire location. Taking pictures will allow you to document the damage in a clear and concise manner. Once you've assessed the situation and documented the damage, you can begin the cleanup.  

Arrange for Emergency Cleanup

If your home has been damaged in a disaster — natural or man-made — you'll need to arrange for emergency cleanup. The best thing you can do for yourself and for your home is to hire a professional disaster cleanup service. First, leaving the cleanup to a professional service will give you the time you need to make arrangements for your family. Second, leaving the cleanup to a professional service will ensure that the job gets done thoroughly. In most cases, your insurance company will reimburse you for the cost of the cleanup. 

Contact Your Insurance Provider

Finally, if your home has sustained significant damage, you'll need to contact your insurance provider. During the initial phone call, you'll want to begin the claims process. Be as concise as you can be when describing the damage to your home. If your family has been displaced by the disaster, let your insurance provider know that you'll need emergency housing. You'll also want to give them contact information for the cleaning service you've contracted with. That way, they can make arrangements for payment.

If you have questions about home insurance, contact your agent.