Summer storms Wisconsin aren’t always severe, but the thing about storms is, they don’t have to be. Even a mild wind storm can kick up and tear some shingles off the roof, a brief monsoon can tear a fence down, and windows can break like… well, like glass. Luckily, we have plenty of time to go over our insurance policies and make sure everything’s covered. You’re likely already protected on wind damages, but other damages, like flooding, may require extra protection. Once you have that settled, you know the drill: Stock up on supplies, canned food, water, batteries. It might not be a bad storm season, but you never know until you’re in the middle of it, so better safe than sorry. What can be a little confusing is what to do after the storm has passed, and who we can trust. Here’s what you need to know:
- Don’t talk to anyone until you’ve talked to your insurer. Well, check on friends and family, sure, but don’t talk to contractors until you’ve called your insurance agent and had them come out and appraise the damages. This is where storm chasers are hoping to get at you while you’re anxious and desperate, and before the damages have been properly appraised. Anyone going door to door or cold calling you right after a storm, don’t give them the time of day. Give them any excuse you can to get rid of them. “Beat it” “scram” and “I don’t even live here” all have a good track record.
- Manage whatever damages you can for now. Move valuables away from broken windows or roof leaks, get the buckets and room fans out to dry out soaked floorboards. You can blame the initial damages on the storm, but anything you could have prevented is going to be chalked up to homeowner negligence.
- Set some time aside to research your contractors. Get some recommendations, look in the yellow pages, then hop online and start Googling. Any contractor with two whole reviews and a week-old website, they probably look like a fly-by-night operation because that’s exactly what they are. Look for a contractor with a reputation to uphold, someone who has something on the line, and who doesn’t want any bad press, not someone who can close up shop and hit the next town by the time you realize they’re never actually going to fix your roof.
- Take some time to relax. Managing the stress of a storm is just as important as managing the physical damages, so take an afternoon or a weekend to catch up on a favorite show, have a drink if you like, and chill out. Storm damages can be managed, so there’s no need to fret, just keep a cool head.
Storms can be a pain in the neck, but planning, insurance, fast thinking and a vigilant eye for storm chasers is all it really takes to avoid a worst-case scenario.