According to reports, hurricane damage cost the US $43 billion last year and accounted for almost half of disaster losses.
Has your home suffered hurricane damage? If so, one of the first things you will need to do is assess the areas of damage.
This will help you get a comprehensive idea of what repairs are needed. It will also help you file your insurance claim and ensure you get the compensation you need to rectify all the damage.
The more areas of storm damage you can spot, the more you can point out to your insurance adjuster. If there are areas of hidden hurricane damage you miss, and only find out about in the future, it can be harder to claim for these down the line than if you identified them right away.
Not sure where to start checking your home for hurricane damage?
Keep reading for a list of the most important parts of your home to inspect, and what to look out for.
Failed Shingle Adhesive and Other Hidden Hurricane Damage to Your Roof
Roofs typically take a beating during hurricanes, which can generate above 75 miles per hour winds.
However, depending on the severity of the hurricane, and your roof’s condition, some of the damage might not be visible upon a cursory inspection.
One of the most common types of hidden hurricane damage to roofs is failed shingle adhesive. This happens when strong winds lift up the bottoms of shingles, without removing them completely. This can rip out roofing nails and create hairline cracks in your shingles.
However, once hurricane conditions are over, the shingles may lay down flat again. Unless you closely inspect your roof and its shingles, it can be hard to spot this damage.
Therefore, if you can access your roof safely, go over it with a fine-toothed comb checking for loosened shingles and areas of failed adhesive. Also, pay close attention to your flashing and roof seams.
When your adjuster comes out, make sure you point out any loose shingles or compromised areas they might miss.
You should also take photographs of all the damage as you encounter it. Documenting damage is one of the most important insurance claims tips for after a storm.
Hidden Water Damage Within Your Home
If your roof became compromised during the hurricane, there is a good chance that water entered your home. Water damage can be costly to fix and trigger additional problems if left unattended.
Even if your roof wasn’t badly damaged during the hurricane, there is still the chance of water intrusion. Therefore, make it a point to go around your home and inspect all of the walls, ceilings, and even floors for signs of water damage.
These can include:
- Mold growth
- Cracking, bubbling, or flaking paint
- Warped floorboards
- Standing water
- Persistently damp areas
If you find an area that looks like it has suffered water damage, try to ascertain how far it reaches and where the source might be. This might lead you to further damage, such as hidden hurricane damage to your roof, gables, plumbing, etc.
Are you wondering “will insurance cover hidden water damage?”
Depending on the cause, you might be able to claim from either your hurricane insurance or something like hidden water damage coverage. Hidden water damage insurance will usually come into play if the water is coming from something like a leaking pipe within the walls.
One of the dangers of water damage is it can cause mold growth. Mold is not something you want in your home, as it can trigger and exacerbate a number of serious health conditions.
Up to 93% of chronic sinus infections have been attributed to mold, and 25% of the population has a genetic predisposition that makes them susceptible to mold illness. What’s more, every year more wood is destroyed by mold than fire and termites combined.
The earlier you can catch signs of mold, the cheaper and the better. In most cases, it’s less expensive to have smaller, early outbreaks of mold treated than ones that have been left to get out of hand.
Also, if the mold growth is a byproduct of water intrusion from hurricane damage, then you might be able to get your insurance to pay for remediation.
Hidden Cracks in Your Exterior Walls
If your home has stood through a hurricane there is a chance it has developed cracks within the exterior walls.
Sometimes cracks will be easy to see, but they can also develop almost invisibly within the walls. At first, these can be hard to spot. Given some time, however, and even fine cracks in exterior walls can develop into large ones, especially if you leave them unrepaired.
To make sure you catch cracks before filing your insurance claim, go around and closely examine your exterior walls. Look up into the eaves and at the base where the walls meet the foundation. You can also gently tap the walls with a mallet to see if any plaster or paint falls off.
If it does, there could well be cracks in the area.
Subtle Window Damage
Hurricanes don’t just blow out and smash windows. Sometimes they cause more subtle damage to the frames and seals of your windows.
Even if your windows look fine, you should still take a close look at them, paying particular attention to the frames and seals. You might find that the strong winds have caused shifting, and created a small gap through which water and drafts can enter.
Unseen Electrical Damage
Another area of hidden hurricane damage to watch out for is electrical damage. Sometimes, compromised electrical circuits can still function for a while, so it’s important to look for warning signs of damage.
These can include:
- Rusting outlets
- Flickering lights
- Issues with your breaker
- Circuits tripping
If your electrical system develops any of these issues it can be a sign there is a serious underlying issue.
Do You Need Help With Your Hurricane Damage Claim?
A lot of hurricane damage can be very obvious. But sometimes hurricanes can trigger things like hidden water damage, almost invisible roof damage, hard-to-see walls cracks in your walls, and more.
The faster you can find these things and report them to your insurance company, the better.
Speaking of which, are you having a hard time with your insurance claim? Sometimes insurers aren’t as quick to pay as one would like, especially if the damage is extensive or the claim is complicated.
Going through a hurricane can be a highly traumatic experience. The last thing you need is to wage a battle with your insurance company on your own.
Instead, call us. We have years of experience dealing with insurance companies and negotiating with them to get the best claim settlement for our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.