Oh NO! A Tree hit your house in the middle of the night- Water is pouring in, what do you do?
We certainly enjoyed one of the most beautiful summers I can remember, but now Winter storms are right around the corner. This time of year, Mother Nature can be very unpredictable and at times very destructive to your home. You might find yourself abruptly woken from the sound of a tree striking your home, wind tearing off your roof shingles, or maybe a busted pipe spraying water everywhere. There are many things that can happen during inclement weather. Being prepared and knowing what to do in the aftermath can save you time, money and unwanted stress.
Here are 7 easy steps to help ensure your safety and your pocketbook:
- Depending on what has happened– first and most importantly, make sure everyone is safe and accounted for.
- Determine if there is any imminent danger to the house or property. Depending on the damage, it might not be safe to be inside your home or near the tree. If in doubt, don’t take a chance, stay clear.
- Your insurance company does require you to take action any time you have a loss to help limit the damage, that doesn’t mean YOU have to get up on the roof or do anything that could be potentially dangerous. In fact, I recommend you don’t try to do anything yourself. Don’t worry if it’s after hours– call a quality tree service and leave a message on their voicemail requesting a call back ASAP. Local companies like Ron’s Stump Removal & Tree service (360-491-8733) or Sunrise Landscaping and tree Service (360.556.3002) offer 24hr emergency services. They are trained, geared up, and can help do what needs to be done to secure the home until the tree can be safely removed.
- Call your insurance company and follow the prompts on the voicemail to file a claim. You can expect a return call within a few hours with your claim number. An adjuster will be assigned to your claim and they will follow up with you to make an appointment to come out to see the damage.
- Take photos as soon as you can. Hopefully, before anything is removed or any action has been taken to handle any further damage. Take a lot of photos from different angles and perspectives from both inside and out. Take close-ups along with longer shots so you can show the overall damage to your home and contents.
- Next you will want to call in a licensed remodel contractor who is experienced with insurance restoration work. The insurance company might ask you to get three bids—normally, that might be a good idea. However, in an emergency, that is not needed. It could actually create delays in the restoration process. Your homeowners insurance is not a lot different than your auto insurance. When you can’t drive your car due to an accident, you simply have your car towed to the repair shop of your choice. The shop will works out all the details with the insurance company for the repairs. They certainly do not require you to have your car towed to 3 different repair shops just to get competitive quotes before they approve the claim and cost of repairs. When hiring a contractor to work on your home, I always recommend working with the contractor you are comfortable and confident with. In other words, you don’t need to call in a bunch of different contractors and taking time off work or God forbid taking your hard earned vacation time off just to get multiple bids on the damage. All you need to do is simply tell your adjuster you want to have John Erwin Remodeling, Inc. handle your restoration work, and that you want them to communicate directly with us to work out all the details of the repairs and associated cost.
- Lastly– folks often normally don’t think about during an event like this: Your furniture, electronics like TV’s, computers, stereo, art, and anything else that is not physically attached and part of your home may also be damaged. The contractor or adjuster cannot help you with that. Often times you will be working with a separate content adjuster for replacing your household items. Your time is best spent compiling your list for your content losses. Again, take a lot of photographs. You can never have enough photographs to protect your interests. Be very thorough documenting the losses and compiling replacing prices for your content. The content adjuster is going to ask you for that list.
The most important piece of advice I can give to you is: do not allow any work to start on your home before the work is authorized and approved by your insurance company. Too many times I have seen when a shady contractor asked the homeowner to sign a contract to get going on the repairs prior to getting insurance approval. This can be disastrous. The contract for your home repairs is between you, the homeowner, and the contractor. The insurance company has no say in who you hire. Again, that decision is solely up to you. If the insurance company doesn’t agree with the repair costs and approve them before any repairs start, you may be responsible for paying above and beyond what insurance allows.
John Erwin Remodeling, Inc., has been doing insurance restoration work for over 20 years. We work directly for our clients as their advocate. We make sure your home is restored back to the pre-loss condition–often times it is even better. We ensure we have authorization from your insurance company prior to even asking you to sign our contract– let alone before we actually start any work. We create a detailed estimate spreadsheet with the costs for all the repairs. Then, we email that directly to the insurance adjuster, along with our clients. Often times we have to make adjustments or point out to the adjuster where their estimate may fall a bit short. In all the years we have been doing insurance restoration work, we haven’t ever not come to an agreement with insurance companies as far as scope and associated cost! We simply keep working the issues until everyone is on the same page. Once we have an agreed scope of work and bottom line cost, we then can sign the contract for repairs.
Mother Nature may throw lemons down on your home…but I say: let’s make lemonade! We can make that unfortunate incident into a remodel opportunity. Hey, you might just get that new kitchen you were dreaming about paid for by the tree that hit the house and the homeowners’ insurance policy you’ve paid on for years. :0)