Storm Damage: 7 Tips & Insurance Claims Advice

Storm damage can be prevented, like this fallen tree which could have been removed beforehand.
Storm damage can be avoided with some preventative maintenance. For example, checking for dead trees and having them removed before a storm does it for you. See Tip #4 Below
Storm Damage Prevention Tips & Avoiding Contributory Negligence...

Storm Damage Prevention, Preparation & Insurance Claims Advice

If you aren't regularly maintaining your property your storm damage insurance claim can be denied by your insurance company due to contributory negligence. Under most insurance law, you have a duty to act with reasonable care, and basic preventative maintenance of your property falls under that category. Our article below is advice straight from the licensed public insurance adjusters and restoration construction experts at Chateau and Superior Services of PA & MD. The preventative maintenance tips provided below are key to preventing avoidable storm damage, and this will ensure that any unexpected damage will be covered by your insurance company. The best advice we can give is to contact a licensed public adjuster or restorations expert to help you identify problem areas in your home's exterior and interior so that you are thoroughly preventing avoidable storm damage and are prepared for any unpreventable damage, like the kind caused by extreme weather, floods, hail heavy rains, high winds, etc.

EXTERIOR: Preventative Maintenance Storm Damage Prep

#1 Clean Your Gutters

It can be a dirty chore, but its incredibly important to have properly functioning gutters if you want to prevent as much storm damage as possible. If you can't get up on a ladder safely and comfortably, calla gutter cleaning service. Some roofing and exterior contractors offer this service. Also check your downspouts for proper channeling of water away from your home's foundation.

#2 Inspect your Roof for Existing Leaks

Inspect your roof for existing leaks. Check the flashing around breaks in the roofing like vent pipes, skylights, and where the roofing system is adjacent to walls and chimneys. Check also for missing shingles. It is difficult for a non-expert to discover minor roof leaks, and even minor roof leaks can cause extensive storm damage to your home. Since most insurance policies require homeowners to perform some sort of regular, basic preventative maintenance it is important for you to have an expert inspect your roof to identify any problem areas. Contact a licensed roofing contractor (like Superior Services of PA & MD) to perform a roof inspection (most will do it for free) and hire one to execute any necessary repairs so that minor leaks don't turn into major damage.

Clean your gutters to prevent storm damage and water leaks when severe storms hit

#3 Inspect your Home's Foundation for Cracks, Gaps & Potential Leaks

Water that enters a home from the outside is excluded from coverage in almost every homeowner's insurance policy. Most people are unaware that floods are a separate coverage under a different policy (if offered at all), and water from the outside is considered a flood. While it is best to call a professional contractor to deal with any discovered leaks, you can possibly prevent water entry into your home by caulking cracks and gaps (in your foundation or around doors and windows) with siliconized exterior caulk like GE Siliconized Sealant. Click here to Google Search GE's silicone products to see where to buy.

#4 Check Property for Trees that can be Uprooted & Cause Storm Damage

Check the trees around your home. Diseased or dead trees have weaker roots and are more likely to be taken down by high winds during a storm, which can cause extensive damage to your home. Have any dying, dead or weak trees near your home removed by a professional.

INTERIOR: Preventative Maintenance Storm Damage Prep

Water stains in drywall could be from roof leaks made worse by storm damage
Water stains in your ceiling drywall could be from a roof leak made worse by storms. Check for roof leaks!

#5 Check Ceilings for Water Stains in Drywall

Water-stained ceilings - discoloring of drywall like in the picture above/left - means there is a leak somewhere in the roof. The back of drywall is designed to resist water, so it is hard to identify the location of the leak just by discovering a water-stain in your ceiling's drywall. The water could be entering the ceiling from anywhere and then running to the lowest point before seeping through the ceiling. But you can check the location on the roof above the water leak to see if there is a pipe vent or some other likely culprit for a leak. You should call a licensed roofing and restorations specialist to ensure proper and thorough discovery of all roof leaks and water damage. Remember: a minor water leak can be made worse by severe storm damage.

#6 Make Sure Your Sump Pump is Functioning Properly: Avoidable Water, Flood & Storm Damage

Sump pump failure is rarely covered by your homeowners insurance unless you have a sump pump endorsement - meaning your policy actually states that sump pump failure is covered. You can check if your sump is working using on of two methods (or both). First, locate the two plugs leading from your sump pump and unplug them. Plug them back in one at a time. If you don't see and hear your sump pump turning back on, you should call a licensed plumber as it probably is in disrepair. Another way to check if your sump pump is working is to run water through it. Using a hose or bucket, slowly add enough water to lift the float arm of the sump pump. This should activate the pump, as it mimics what will happen in case of a flood or water damage. If nothing happens, it isn't functioning properly and you should call a professional.

Sump pump failure can cause extensive water and water and storm damage if not prevented
One way to avoid excessive, unneccesary water/flood/storm damage is to make sure your basement's sump pump is functioning properly. This illustration shows how sump pumps work.

#7 Check Caulking & Weatherstripping on Doors & Windows to Prevent Storm Damage

Placing towels and rolls of paper-towels around the inside of exterior doors can stop water leaks. If you know of any windows or doors in your home that are not energy-efficient, for example that you can feel cold air through in the winter or where sometimes water gets in, get them replaced if you have time or caulk the perimeter on the outside or inside. You can also duct tape the perimeter of them as a temporary fix for any coming storm, to help stop water leaking. You should have these doors or windows replaced as soon as possible.

We hope that we've provided some useful tips for helping you get prepared for storm damage this season. Severe weather can do a lot of harm to homes and businesses. Make sure you have an expert on your side when it comes to filing a claim with your insurance company if you have suffered water, flood or storm damage! Hanover PA & Carroll County MD property owners should contact us today to get the insurance process started.

Our Public Adjusters Get Storm Damage Claims Approved

When insurance companies get away with only paying for small repairs, it's almost always because the policyholder just doesn't have the construction and insurance knowledge needed to properly challenge their valuation. If your property has suffered storm damage - whether interior or exterior - contact us for a free inspection and consultation. We'll get you the insurance settlement you deserve.

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  • Cumberland, Lancaster, York & Adams Counties in Pennsylvania
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