What to do After a Storm

Thunderstorms cause significant damage to homes each year. The damage ranges from missing roof shingles to trees falling on the structure. Your home insurance may cover some or all of the thunderstorm damage. However, you can minimize some risks on your own. Taking steps to minimize risks helps keep your home insurance costs down. Here are five tips to help you.

#1: Check those branches
One common cause of damage to homes from thunderstorms comes from falling branches. Inspect yours each year. Be sure to remove dead or dying branches. Remove those on your property and over the neighbor’s property as well. Also, cut branches back from electrical lines, your roof or chimney.

#2: Shore up the foundation
Thunderstorms can cause water damage as well. Be sure your home’s foundation has necessary sealants from rainwater. Also keep all gutters and drainage ditches clear of debris. You will want to check the grading on your home to ensure water flows again from it. If you have a sump pump or other system, be sure it is always working. Home insurance does not usually cover flooding. Be sure your home will not flood.

#3: Lightning strikes
It is not always possible to minimize damage from lightning. However, you can reduce damage by minimizing the number of tall objects around the home. Have a professional install a lightning protection system. This can help reduce risks.

#4: Monitor the wires
Electrical wires tend to not be a concern for homeowners. You should not touch them or move them during storms. In fact, many homeowners shut off and unplug non-essential electrical items during storms.

However, it is important to monitor these items during and after the weather passes. If you spot a problem with them, contact the electrical company. A common example includes fallen wires. Look for areas where the wires seem to hang rather than remain tight. Report any close to the ground. Damage to electrical poles is also important to spot and repair. Never attempt repairs on your own.

#5: Move items inside when possible
Sometimes, the rain is not the problem, but the wind is. You will want to consider moving light items into a protected area if a storm approaches. This may take a few minutes to do. However, it can help minimize the risk of a flower pot becoming airborne and striking a window. That's a problem you might avoid.

Be proactive. Invest wisely in these simple ways to protect your home. Often, your electrical company can offer insight and tips as well. Let your home insurance agent know if you do need to file a claim. You will likely get the support you need.