After a Natural Disaster: Steps for Homeowners
Posted on: August 6, 2015 by Aegis General
A natural disaster is a frightening event for homeowners. From assessing immediate needs following a disaster to returning to a sense of normalcy in the months ahead, it’s natural for individuals to want to get back into a routine right away. However, there are critical steps that must be taken in order to reduce their Specialty Homeowners Insurance risks.
Immediately Assess Damages: Checking on family members within the home, neighbors, elderly persons, and children who might have been alone during the disaster is the most critical first step. If possible, homeowners should turn off gas and electricity. If a home has suffered damage, it is likely the power lines have been adversely affected, as well. Utility crews will turn them back on when deemed safe. Any damage to the home or property should be reported to the insurance company immediately. Swift notification and documentation of damage will help to ensure quick claim resolution.
If Evacuated, Don’t Rush Home: Emergency crew may evacuate people before, during or even after a wildfire, earthquake, or other natural disaster. Although structural damage may not be immediately evident, even minor damage could create roof or foundation collapses well after the disaster has passed. Exposed live wires and gas leaks are also common after these incidents. Avoid inhabiting the home until these risks have been managed. In addition, homeowners should keep listening to the radio or TV for news about what to do, where to go, which places may be too dangerous to go still, and how to contact local disaster relief.
Avoid Driving: It makes sense that homeowners would want to go to where their friends and families are to ensure their safety, however this could impede the process of disaster clean up and relief. Insureds should stay off the road after a disaster to allow emergency workers to move quickly. To locate and contact family or friends, individuals can utilize the American Red Cross database, which helps people find relatives after a disaster.
Safety should always be the highest priority for homeowners and their families after a natural disaster. In addition to following the above steps, insureds should be aware of which factors could potentially harm them and their loved ones; fallen electrical lines, natural gas, propane, and other flammables, carbon monoxide exposure, floodwater, etc. For more information on post-disaster safety, the American Red Cross provides numerous resources on how they can help throughout their website.
At Aegis General Insurance Agency we understand the risks faced by homeowners who have experienced a natural disaster, especially those with special risks. We are dedicated to providing specialty coverage to homeowners with unique property and asset protection needs. For more information on our offerings, contact our specialists today at (866) 662-5752.