AAA Offers Tips for Storm Damaged Homes and Vehicles
As residents begin to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, AAA Mid-Atlantic offers the following tips to ease the recovery process for homes and vehicles.
Tree Damage (Homes & Vehicles):
- If your car is damaged by a fallen tree or limbs, then you would need to file a claim using your vehicle policy’s comprehensive coverage.
- If your tree falls on your house, your insurance will cover removal of the tree and home repairs due to damage.
- If your tree falls on your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s homeowners policy would provide insurance coverage. The same holds true if your neighbor’s tree falls on your home; you would file a claim with your own insurance company.
- If a tree falls in your yard, but doesn’t hit anything, you would pay for its removal in most cases.
- Additionally, if a tree on your property is weak, damaged, or decayed, but you do nothing about it, and it crashes down, you could be held liable for damages.
- Car owners should contact their insurance company to determine the extent of coverage before seeking repairs.
- Take photographs of any visible damage.
- Any vehicle sustaining flood damage should be fully inspected before being allowed back on the road. Mechanical components, computer systems, engine, transmission, axles, brake system and fuel system impacted by water contamination may render the vehicle unfit to drive and in many cases vehicles sustaining significant water damage will be determined to be a total loss.
- The first step to recovery is inspecting your home for damage and then notifying your insurance agent or company representative as soon as possible.
- Prepare an inventory and take photographs of damaged property.
- Store undamaged property in a protected place if possible.
- If carpet is soaked, remove the carpet and the carpet pad. Keep a two-foot square piece for the claims adjuster.
- Look for hazards such as broken or leaking gas lines, flooded electrical circuits, submerged furnaces or electrical appliances and damaged sewage systems.
- Proceed with extreme caution as you inspect your basement. There may be hazards from electrical lines and heating units. If your basement has flooded, do not pump it out all at once. Remove about one-third of the water per day. The wet ground surrounding your basement may cause the floors to buckle and the walls to collapse.
- Remove contaminated materials from the home. Be aware of exposure to mold.
- Carpeting, mattresses and upholstered furniture should be disposed of or cleaned and disinfected by a professional cleaner.
- Cover broken windows and other holes to prevent further damage.
- Test drywall for moisture softness. If soft, cut holes at base to help dry out.
- If possible run AC, dehumidifier and fans constantly.
- If power is out, disconnect all computers and appliances from electrical sources.
- Open cabinet doors and elevate furniture allowing air to circulate.
- Save wet books or photo albums by putting them on edge in a frost free freezer.
- Be present when the adjuster inspects your damage.