Mother Nature imposes her will as she pleases, and weather and climate-related disasters are definitely not unheard of. As the earth warms and the climate changes, these events are only increasing in frequency. And while there’s little we can do about it except take shelter and ride out the storms, sadly, it is our homes that are bearing the brunt of the damage.
It’s not a surprise, therefore, that weather-related insurance claims are at an all-time high, with wind and hail damage being the most prevalent at 38.2 percent. In context, that’s one in 50 homes and only insured ones at that.
While most of us are still ordered to stay at home for the majority of the day and the unpredictable weather that springtime brings is upon us, it may be a good time to implement the following tips to protect your most significant investment.
It can be tempting to trust that your home will withstand the elements and remain oblivious to weather damage. Unfortunately, as time goes by, wear and tear sets in, and before you know it, you have massive — or worse, irreparable — damage in your hands.
Needless to say, this is something you don’t want to happen. It’s important, therefore, to know and accept what you’re up against. And depending on where you are in the world, this could run the gamut of structural damage from wind and hail storms, heavy snow and ice buildup in freezing weather, water damage from floods and storms, and fires from lightning and wildfires.
When the storm has passed and the skies have cleared, your first course of action should be to make a full assessment of the damage it left in its wake. Be aware that your roof is particularly vulnerable, as are windows, pipes, and your house’s framework as a whole.
Hail damage is easiest to detect, so look out for missing and damaged shingles on your roof, as well as debris buildup in spouts and gutters. Wind damage may also pose similar signs, but be mindful of surface cracks and tears and crumbling or loose bricks as well.
Water damage from rain or flood, on the other hand, is often not apparent at first glance and may even take some time to manifest. It’s best to be proactive and check gutters for water buildup, ceilings and walls for water spots, windows for moisture buildup, and floors for soft and sagging wood. Be conscious of the smells, as a musty smell is a telltale indication of mold.
As soon as you’ve determined the kind of damage that you’re facing after a weather-related incident, don’t put off dealing with it. Rather, get the damage repaired as soon as possible. The reason for this is simple: Weather damage has the potential to escalate quickly, so you need to mitigate it before it gets worse. Not only that, you never know if there’s another storm brewing on the heels of the last one, so it’s important to fix all problems before it comes.
Depending on the extent and the part of your home that’s damaged by hail or storms, repairs could set you back significantly. It’s good practice to get quotes from multiple contractors before you sign up for any repairs to ensure that you get the best possible deal. If your home is insured, you can also speed up the process of claiming coverage by having your policy information handy and submitting photo and video documentation of the damage. Having a home in disrepair can also negatively impact its value. For example, if your roof needs to be replaced, interested buyers may lower their bids.
Of course, prevention is still the best course of action. Even if the last storm has barely left the horizon, you should already be taking pains to prepare for the next one.
Make sure to clean your yard of items that could be blown around by heavy winds, and clear fallen leaves and debris from gutters. More importantly, check your trees, particularly those with overhanging branches close to your home. Lastly, give your roof a once-over periodically to make sure that there are no loose or out-of-place shingles.
At the end of the day, you can only do so much against nature’s wrath. But by simply gearing up for the worst, you can prepare your home for the possible outcome that’s best.