What to Do After a Hurricane

Protect yourself and your property with these essential steps following a hurricane. 

If your home was just damaged by a hurricane, it’s important to begin with these steps to stay safe and reduce additional property damage.

1. Protect yourself

Your safety following any type of severe weather is most important, along with the safety of your family, neighbors, and emergency responders.

  • If your home has sustained storm damage, be very cautious as you decide whether to re-enter your home. Contact local officials who will be better equipped to assess any structural damage.
  • Report downed power lines or potential gas leaks immediately.
  • Do not wade through standing water.
  • Avoid downed power lines and always assume they are live.
  • If your home has been flooded, do not restore your electric service until you are certain it is safe to do so.

2. Clean up safely

As you begin the cleanup process, be careful, and use protective eyewear and gloves if available. While clearing debris, use the correct personal protective equipment, including eye protection and gloves. You may need to hire a professional remediation service depending on the severity of damage sustained on the inside of your home.

3. Use Generators safely

Learn about choosing and using a generator safely from the American Red Cross.

4. Protect your property

Even minor damage to shingles can create a pathway for water to enter your home. Shingles are easily damaged in hurricane winds, and water may be getting inside despite an initial visual assessment from the outside. As soon as it is safe, check your attic and upper levels for evidence of water leaks or standing water.

5. Report your losses as soon as possible

If you see damage or suspect water damage, the sooner you act the better. Contact your insurance agent or insurer as soon as you can. Provide a general description of the damage and have your policy number handy if possible. Write down the adjuster’s name, phone number and work schedule as soon as you have them.

6. Document all damage

Your claim will be easier to process if you are able to document all of the damage you observe. If possible, keep damaged items until your claim is processed. Enabling location services on your devices as you capture photographs or video helps to verify the location and may simplify your claims process.

7. Keep receipts

Good record-keeping is another important way to ease the claims process. For example, if you need to relocate, keep your records and receipts for all expenses incurred by your emergency living arrangements. Coverage will vary, but receipts are essential for accurate and timely reimbursement.

8. Return claim forms

Loss or damage claims will require some paperwork, and it is important that you supply these details in a timely manner. After you notify your insurance company of your claim, they will send you the necessary claim forms. Fill out and return these forms as quickly as possible. Most states set time requirements on the initial delivery of forms from the insurance company and on your time limit for returning completed forms. If you do not understand the process or have questions about items on these documents, be sure to ask questions and complete this vital step in the claims process completely and accurately.

9. Rebuild stronger

FORTIFIED is the national standard for building stronger and can give your home extra protection in the face of severe weather. If you rebuild or re-roof, make your home better prepared to face the next storm. Homes built to the FORTIFIED Home™ standard are designed to be more durable in up to Category 3 winds by using:

  • Stronger connections to hold the roof onto the house
  • Reinforced roof edges to further withstand high winds
  • A sealed roof deck to prevent rain from entering the home
  • Wind-rated windows, doors, and garage doors

 

When you’re ready to get started, work with your contractor to make your home a FORTIFIED Home.

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