Disaster Restoration Specialists Stand Ready to Help Hurricane Victims Recover
ServiceMaster Advanced Restorations has 10 suggestions for restoring your life to normal after a hurricane.
Following a hurricane, storm victims must begin the process of recovering from the devastation. ServiceMaster Advanced Restorations is standing by to lend a helping hand so you can get back on your feet quickly. Drawing on over 60 years of experience in disaster restoration, ServiceMaster is equipped to begin restoration immediately following a catastrophe.
“When disaster strikes your home or business, all you want to do is get your life back to normal…fast,” says Pete Duncanson, director of training and technical support for ServiceMaster Clean. “And our local service technicians are trained to respond immediately, because damage from water and bacteria growth can begin within hours.”
The disaster restoration experts at ServiceMaster offer the following suggestions for beginning the recovery process after a hurricane, tropical storm, or other natural disaster:
DETERMINE IF YOUR HOME IS SAFE
Before setting foot in your home, see if you can determine whether the building is structurally safe, and proceed with extreme caution when inside the building. Even without obvious signs of damage, internal instability may lead to a collapse. Avoid standing under sagging ceilings, and take care when handling debris as they can be hazardous. If your home is not safe for you to stay in, see what living expenses your insurance policy covers.
TAKE CARE WHEN USING POWER
Never turn on the power if the house is flooded or the wiring is damaged. Have a professional electrician inspect the wiring to be sure that it is all functioning properly before you turn it on. It is highly recommended that you have flashlights and batteries on hand for light after a storm. Avoid lighting matches until you can have a professional check for leaks in the gas lines.
PROTECT IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS
Guard against storm damage by storing important documents and identification in a waterproof container. These include current copies of any of the following: driver’s license, Social Security card, passport, copies of your insurance policies, financial documents, wills, the deed to your property, keys, and cash. Keep in mind that following a catastrophe you may only be able to enter your home if you can show valid photo ID, so be sure to keep that on hand.
REPORT PROPERTY DAMAGE
Report damage to your home to your insurance agent as soon as it happens, so you can kick off the restoration and recovery process immediately.
Photograph or film any damage that occured. List the contents that are damaged as well, and collect any receipts, invoices, or other documentation that will help the adjuster determine the value of damaged items. Make copies of any documents so you can keep a copy while still sharing one with the adjuster.
If you are able to make some repairs yourself, this can help prevent additional damage. Such repairs include blocking gaps or leaks that might allow in additional water. Cover damaged areas in the roof or walls, and broken windows. Any supplies that you purchase to perform basic repairs to protect your home may be eligible for reimbursement from your insurance, so be sure to hold onto the receipts.
WATCH OUT FOR SCAMS
Scam artists sometimes prey on storm victims. Check that anyone you hire to inspect or do repairs in your home is properly licensed. We also recommend checking whether the Better Business Bureau has any reported complaints.
LET CREDITORS KNOW IF YOU CAN’T PAY
If your home is unlivable, contact your local utility providors so they know not to bill you. If you will be unable to pay your credit card or any other creditors, contact them as well to set up a plan that is workable for both of you.
KEEP UP WITH THE CLAIMS PROCESS
To keep the process moving as quickly as possible and get an adjuster assigned to your claim, do your best to respond quickly to any communications from the insurance company. Know that the process proceeds much more slowly for major damages than minor losses.
LOOK FOR TAX BREAKS
After a major loss, you may be elgible for certain tax breaks, so we recommend bringing in a tax expert you trust to take a look.