You survived the storms, but did your property? Here's how to restore normalcy after a natural disaster and protect yourself from scam contractors.
Tornadoes and severe weather swept through Thursday, killing two people in north central Illinois and injuring 20 others.
Although the storms hit hardest in Fairdale, Rochelle and Kirkland, residents in communities throughout Illinois are coping with the devastation left in their wake.
Whether the storm damage is major or minor, it’s important to know what to do after the storm is over to get things back to normal.
1. Check for damage
Once the storm passes, walk around your property and look for any signs of damage — and be sure to take plenty of photos.
Use a camera or cell phone to document your home inside and out, and hand over the photos to your insurance adjuster.
Unfortunately, there are probably more spring showers coming in the coming days and weeks, so pay special attention to any windows or roof damage, which could spring a leak that will be costly to repair.
Related: Did a Storm Damage Your Roof?
2. Call your insurance agent
Even if a storm hits in the middle of the night, don’t wait until morning — file an insurance claim as soon as possible.
An insurance adjuster should follow up with an on-site visit within a few days of the storm, so prevent further damage by protecting or repairing whatever you can. Keep the receipts from any expenses and give those to your adjuster, too.
3. Avoid scam contractors
The sun isn’t the only thing that comes out after a major storm — so do scammers looking to make a quick buck on desperate homeowners.
Just say no to door-to-door solicitors, and make sure you’re on site during any property inspections.
Avoid companies with temporary offices or no local address, as they’re likely to be fly-by-night scam artists who not finish the job or be around to guarantee their work. Check their reviews and ask for local references.
Remember, even when time is of the essence, homeowners should get multiple bids before hiring a contractor, and verify that they have a valid state contractor's license.
4. Before the next storm
After you’ve dealt with the damage, it’s a good time to think about how you can prepare for future storms.
A major storm can knock out power for days at a time. You can be ready for the next round of severe weather by installing a whole-house generator.
In Chicagoland, the average cost to install a generator is around $7,000.