The southeastern United States knows all about hurricane damage and preparations. But in the heat of the moment, as you’re looking at a damaged house, it can be easy to forget a lot of the practical advice you’ve gotten and just start trying to fix things yourself immediately. Rarely, if ever, is this a good idea! Do you know what to actually do for roof damage after a hurricane?
Hurricanes can completely devastate your roof, leaving your home and belongings vulnerable to further damage. But don’t lose your cool as you deal with this new situation. Here are the steps to take immediately after you discover a damaged roof.
Get Temporary Repairs Done ASAP
Your first order of business should be keeping the damage from spreading any further. Perform a little temporary roof repair. If you can find the leak on the interior of your roof and it’s a manageable size, cover it with a tarp or other waterproof material temporarily. Don’t let any more water get into your house.
Unfortunately, hurricane damage can frequently result in leaks large enough that a simple tarp cover isn’t going to do much good. Call your local roofing contractor and see how quickly they can patch your roof to keep damage from spreading further. While actual repairs may have to wait, they can at least provide a temporary solution.
File Your Insurance Claim Immediately
Don’t wait to file an insurance claim! After a disaster, your insurance company will be flooded with requests and claims. Get yours in quickly to avoid waiting too long for professional repairs. The sooner you file your claim, the sooner your life can go back to normal.
Pro Tip: Your roofing contractors will work with your insurance company and be your advocate to make sure you get the most value from your claim. Let the professionals handle the insurance negotiations.
Choose a Trustworthy Houston Roofing Company
After a natural disaster, out-of-town companies known as storm chasers will show up and offer free or allegedly discounted inspection and repair services. Don’t let them near your roof! These companies will vanish once the job is done, leaving you to deal with any problems that may arise later. These contractors tend to charge exorbitant prices for subpar work and leave before dealing with any fallout. Don’t let this happen to you! Stick with a local, trustworthy company with an incentive to give you the best job possible.
Dealing with Roof Damage After a Hurricane
Hurricane season isn’t over until the end of November 2019. With just over a month to go, it’s still possible that an unexpected storm could cause extensive damage to your roof. Don’t let it take you by surprise! If you stay on top of things and have your roof inspected and repaired quickly, life can get back to normal soon.
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Once a hurricane has passed over your house, there’s almost certainly going to be some damage to deal with. Even a brand-new roof might have a few shingles missing here and there. However, not all hurricane damage is easily visible. Following a hurricane or severe weather, you should always inspect your roof yourself for any less obvious signs of damage.
Hurricane Roof Damage
Storm damage caused by a hurricane can leave some nasty marks on your house. However, don’t assume you got lucky if your house appears relatively untouched. A hurricane’s high winds and pounding rain can cause structural damage to your roof even if not one shingle is out of place. Here’s what to look for after a hurricane:
- Roof leaks
- Clogged gutters or downspouts
- Missing shingles
1) Roof Leaks
A hurricane can puncture holes in your roof from flying debris or cause damage to your home’s structural integrity. Even missing shingles can allow rain into your house. Since leaks may not be visible from the outside, begin by inspecting the inside of your roof. Are there any obvious holes or damages? Can you see any dark spots, indicating moisture is spreading?
Pro Tip: If you discover a leak on the inside of your roof, you can temporarily patch it with a tarp or other waterproof material until a professional can repair it.
2) Clogged Gutters or Downspouts
As you inspect your roof after a storm, don’t forget to check your gutters and downspouts as well. If you haven’t installed gutter guards or they’ve been damaged, you might find yourself dealing with pools of water on your roof that can cause collapses and expensive damage. Clean leaves or twigs out of your gutters to allow water to flow off freely and prevent this from happening.
3) Missing Shingles
Arguably the most common type of hurricane damage, missing tiles can lead to all sorts of problems with your roof. The most common issue, however, is leaking. A missing tile leaves a hole in your roof’s waterproof cover and can allow the rain inside. Your best bet to keep this damage in check is to temporarily install some extra shingles or other waterproof material on the outside of your roof to prevent further damage from occurring while you wait for repairs.
Protect Your Woodlands Home
Before the hurricane arrives, take as many preventive measures as you can to make sure your home stays protected from the high wind and rain that severe weather brings. If the hurricane passes and your home sustains some damage, the best thing you can do is arrange for repairs as quickly as possible. The faster you get the damages fixed, the less time things have to get worse and the sooner you can return to living in an undamaged house.
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Hurricane season isn’t over until the end of November. As the National Weather Service tracks storms and keeps everyone updated, make sure that you and your family are ready to wait out any severe weather. If you decide not to evacuate or can’t evacuate, these emergency supplies may be all you have to go on for a while.
While you should always maintain a kit of emergency supplies, it’s particularly important to double-check that kit this time of year and replace items as necessary. Don’t let yourself get caught by surprise with an expired kit. Use this checklist to make sure you have everything you need and a plan for staying safe this hurricane season.
Food and Drink
Your disaster kit should contain a three-day supply of nonperishable food for each person in your home. Make sure it’s easy to open and prepare as well–for instance, opt for pull-tab tops on canned foods so you don’t have to worry about a can opener. Along with the food, make sure each family member has a three-day supply of clean water with at least one gallon per person per day set aside. Don’t substitute the water for other drinks like fruit juice or soda. While these drinks may taste better sometimes and last a while, because of their less beneficial nutritional content and the potential to increase thirst through high sugar content, they should be saved as a last resort.
Of course, there are plenty of non-edible supplies you should include in your emergency kit. These include:
- 7-day supply of any prescription medicine your family needs
- Sanitary wipes
- First aid kit
- Sunscreen and bug spray
- Extra cash
- Copies of personal records: passports, proof of address, medical papers, etc.
- Family members’ contact info
- A full tank of gas
- Hand-crank or battery-powered radio to monitor the weather
- Extra batteries
- Extra sets of keys for your house and car
- Cell phones and extra chargers and/or battery packs
- Spare clothes
- Baby supplies: diapers, wipes, formula, etc.
- Pet supplies: food, carrier, leash, etc.
Pro Tip: Take before and after photos of your house to document any damage that may occur. Your insurance will appreciate it.
Before the Storm Hits
Keep your gas tank full and go down the checklist to see what supplies you may need. Keep an eye on the weather in the meantime. Prepare your home for severe weather by covering the windows, moving valuables inside, and any other steps you deem necessary. Most importantly, make sure your family knows the evacuation plan if it comes to that. Protect what’s really valuable.
Be Ready for Anything
Even the most advanced weather equipment is occasionally wrong. Sometimes, a hurricane projected to die at sea causes severe damage on land. We can never be completely sure what the weather might bring. The best we can do is make sure we’re ready to weather the storm.
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Roof repairs, while necessary to your comfort and your home’s long-term stability, can become expensive fairly quickly. Insurance can certainly help, but are you sure your policy covers everything you’ll need? Sometimes the fine print hides crucial exclusions or stringent rules that make filing a claim difficult.
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to cooperate with your insurance provider and get repairs covered during an emergency event. Even if they can’t or won’t cover the entire job, following their preferred procedure will ensure you get a good amount of your money back. Let’s take a look at what to do to begin filing an insurance claim for roof damages.
Read Your Policy in Detail
Before you actually buy an insurance policy, read it in detail and make sure you know exactly what’s covered and what’s not. But by now, you’ve probably already had this policy for a while and want to take advantage of it. It still pays to read your policy carefully for any conditions or stipulations you may not have known about. For instance, several policies depend on the age of your roof. While some may cover up to 20 years, some policies expire after 10 years. You’re better off just replacing the entire damaged roof in a case like that.
As soon as it’s safe to do so, take a look at your roof’s interior and exterior. Take pictures of any sign of damage, even if it seems minor, for your insurance company to investigate. Label each picture with the date, time, and a brief explanation of what you noticed that concerned you.
Pro Tip: While you can certainly perform a cursory inspection of the damage, your insurance company is likely to take an expert’s opinion more seriously. Have a local roofing contractor inspect the damages and send your provider a detailed report.
Call Your Insurance Agent
Now that you have the relevant information from your policy and the documentation of damages, it’s time to contact your insurance company and begin the claim process. Continue to document any and all information they give you as you work through the problem. Your roofing company should be involved in this process as well to provide their estimate of repair costs and help advocate for you during the claim.
Insurance for Your Woodlands Roof
Don’t wait for your home or roof to suffer storm damage before pursuing quality insurance coverage. Even better, if you already have good insurance, take the time to study your coverage in detail and speak with an agent about any potential concerns. Waiting till an emergency situation to start learning how to file a claim for roof damage is perhaps one of the worst things a homeowner can do.
Join the conversation to learn more about filing a roof claim and protecting your home.