If your home is damaged due to a natural disaster, it’s hard to know where to start.
Once everyone is safe and has addressed any physical injuries, the long process of rebuilding begins.
1. Call your insurance company and find out exactly what’s covered by your policy, start filing your claims.
2. Take photos of everything. When you arrive back to your home (once it’s safe to do so) take photos of everything as you go room by room assessing the damages.
3. Remove any valuable items as well as important documents like passports, birth certificates, deeds etc. Check with your insurance company as your policy might even cover a storage unit so you can safely store larger items.
4. Secure your property. This may mean some temporary repairs but find a reputable contractor to begin the process. If your home is uninhabitable, be sure and keep track of all your expenses to live in temporary housing or a hotel. Many homeowner and renter policies provide some coverage for hotels, meals and other living expenses following a disaster.
5. Keep track of all your expenses. Save every single receipt and write down what each expense was for so you can submit to your insurance company.
6. Take inventory of the damage to determine what’s salvageable and what needs to be replaced- everything from floors and ceilings to furniture and fixtures. Prioritize this from necessities to niceties.
7. Keep a close eye on what you can’t see. If you had water damage, mold will often start to appear after just a few days. It’s important to note that sometimes mold takes form in places not readily visible, such as inside walls or ductwork. Foul odours can also be a warning sign that there are other structural damages you may not have initially noticed. An air purifier can help with both of those problems.