Dealing With Alabama Hurricane Damage And the Aftermath

Sally caused Alabama hurricane damage the likes of which had not been seen since Ivan came along and paid a visit in 2004. The Alabama hurricane damage caused by Sally is expected to exceed the damages caused by Ivan by millions of dollars. Since 1851 when records started to be kept there have been about 80 cyclones that have caused Alabama hurricane damage.

The coastal towns in Alabama were pummeled by the heavy winds, rain, and storm surges. Some estimates are pointing to cleanup not being completed until March 2021. Many residents are struggling with the restoration efforts and cleanup. How can you move things along for your home, business, and neighborhood and stay safe while you do it?

The Clean-Up

Residents in Baldwin County are struggling with debris removal just like other coastal areas. Finding emergency tree service support has been difficult because of the high demand. All you have to do is take a look around to see tree debris, uprooted trees, limbs hanging vicariously over structures just waiting to fall to understand how urgent the need is.

Many homeowners say that their first instinct is to get out there and start clearing the debris themselves but the authorities are recommending caution. The first thing any property owner should do is to secure their property the best that they can before moving on to clean up.

Unfortunately, there is always a risk associated with the aftermath of natural disasters that unsavory characters will take advantage of the situation and help themselves to other people’s property. According to the experts, you should lock up, and board up what you can before you start any cleanup activities. This is especially true for businesses that have suffered damages. Get a commercial locksmith on board to immediately replace doors and locks that are damaged. You do not want to compound your property damage by inviting in thieves to take what they can.

While you may be eager to get out there with the chain saw and start cleaning up, you have to be sure you take the right safety precautions. There are about 100 deaths each year that occur because of accidents involving removing trees. There are about 30,000 emergency room visits each year related to accidents involving trees. Before you pull the chain saw out if you have any reservations, consider leaving the job up to the emergency tree service professionals.

Don’t rush into the cleanup process. Do the things that you know you can do and pace yourself. Alabama hurricane damage can include multiple issues. For example, it is not unusual to need roof repair after a storm and repair to your garage.

Starting The Repair Process

One of the questions many residents are dealing with right now is can they get one construction company to deal with all the repairs at once. The answer is both a yes and a no. Actually, the answer is more of it depends on your situation.

A good example is the roof and garage repairs. A residential roofing company can fix your roof, your gutters, and the eves over your garage but they likely cannot make repairs to the doors of the garage.

If your garage doors were damaged during the hurricane you will need to find a company that specializes in garage door repairs and replacement. You may be able to find a construction company that does both, but more than likely, you will need two separate companies.

Rip off reports increase after Alabama hurricane damage. There is an increase of incidence of homeowners being taken advantage out of desperation. We share some tips for ensuring that you do not become a tale of caution after Alabama hurricane damage.

  • Tip # 1-Evaluate your options. Don’t jump on the first company that has an open slot. Yes, it is important to get the repairs underway, but you do not want to risk hiring a con person.
  • Tip#2-Check with the BBB before hiring anyone. Check for the Better Business Bureau rating and to see if any complaints have been filed.
  • Tip#3-Desperation does not mean not negotiating. You may be willing to pay any price to get the work done, but don’t. Don’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of. Even in times of crisis, you can negotiate costs and you should.
  • Tip#4-Be wary of “too good to be true” deals. A common scam after Alabama hurricane damage is to get a knock on your door from someone that claims to work for a FEMA approved or state-approved company but is willing to take on “side jobs” to help people out. They typically offer amazing cost savings but what they wind up doing is taking a “downpayment” for materials, and never show up again.
  • Tip # 5 While local businesses may book up quickly, it is best to wait your turn with a company that is established and your are familiar with, then taking the risk with storm chasing companies. Storm chasing companies leave the area when the work from Alabama hurricane damage dries up. This means if you have any issues with the work that they did you have no repercussions.

It is important to get the work done so you can get back to living, but you want to make sure you are getting quality repairs from a trusted source. Don’t rush into hiring anyone.

Prioritizing Repairs

Another expert recommendation that you want to follow when dealing with Alabama hurricane damage is to prioritize repairs. Focuses on the necessities like your HVAC repairs before you address the mess outside will help to get your living space into order faster.

HVAC companies are typically busy after Alabama hurricane damage, so you want to get your name on their repair list as quickly as possible. Making a list of all the necessary repairs followed by all the repairs that need to be done to get your property back in order will keep you focused.

Making list is a good idea for several reasons including:

  • Prioritizing repairs and ensuring the most important things are done first like addressing residential roofing issues.
  • It helps to remind you what is and what is not done. It also helps you to see the progress that you are making. Being able to track the progress of repairs helps you to keep your eye on the goal of full pre-storm restoration.
  • It is a good way to remember what you need to talk to the insurance adjuster about.

Before you make your list you want to do a thorough examination of your property and the structures on your property. View everything from the roof (as best you can) down to the crawl space and everything in between.

Make special notes of any flooding (most insurance companies will pay for crawl space restoration after Alabama hurricane damage from storm surges) and any type of damage that was not pre-existing prior to Sally roaring through.

Go outside and make note of any damage to fencing, and outdoor structures. Fence companies typically see a boost in service requests after Alabama hurricane damage. It is important that you get your service requests in early.

Dealing With the Insurance Company

Many residents in the coastal towns are reporting long wait times to hear back from the insurance companies. Keep in mind that you are not alone in your pursuit of claim information after Alabama hurricane damage. Insurance companies are being flooded with requests, phone calls, and claim questions.

The best way to manage your homeowner’s or business insurance claim is to follow the guidance of your carrier. For example, some carriers are asking policyholders not to call with questions but to email instead.

If your insurance carriers have a portal set up account access, and do as much of the claim as you can online. This can help to expedite the claim process and keep you from getting frustrated in the process. Most major insurance carriers have claim portals where you can initiate your claim, upload pictures of the damage, and track your claim. In many cases, you never have to meet with the adjuster.

Getting frustrated does not help the situation. Instead do these things:

  • Keep good records. Keep a record of every phone call you make with the insurance company. Make sure you get the names of any agent you speak to and write it down.
  • Use email instead of phone calls. It is a lot better to have a written record of any contact you have with the insurance company. Email is considered an “official form of correspondence” and makes it easy to establish how many times you have contacted the insurance company and what the response was.
  • Don’t pay for work that may be covered. Again, it is well understood that getting back to life is a priority, but you need to keep in mind if you pay for covered services out of pocket, it may be a long time before you are reimbursed, and it also may not be covered as you thought it would be. If you cannot afford to lose the money, you should just wait for the insurance company.

About 53% of homeowners report not being very familiar with their homeowner’s insurance coverage. They are uncertain of what the language means and are not certain about what is covered and what is not. If you are in that 53% of homeowners, it is strongly recommended you get your policy out and read through it so you know what you can expect the insurance company will pay after Alabama hurricane damage.

HVAC companies and other companies will offer different pricing schemes for Alabama hurricane damage that is not covered by homeowners insurance, but before you make the call, you need to have a good idea of what type of coverage you have.

In most all cases, regardless of what your plan covers or does not cover, you will have a deductible that you will have to pay. That deductible can range from $250 to $1000 or more. A lot of homeowners are under the impression that they have to pay the deductible before the insurance company will pay anything out, the fact is, the insurance company will simply deduct the amount of the deductible from the check.

Let’s say your roofing damage repair estimate is $8000, but you have a $500 deductible, which means you will get a check from the insurance company for $7500 instead of the full $8000. Another misconception is that the insurance adjuster will come back out to check to make sure the repairs are done right, they do not. As a matter of fact, once the insurance company hands you a check, that is pretty much the end of the contact you will have with the insurance company until your premium is due again.

If your property has a mortgage, then your partner in the property is the mortgage company, and they may send someone out to inspect for repairs. When you have a mortgage, the check from the insurance company is issued in your name and the mortgage holder’s name. Your mortgage company has to release the funds to you. Depending on the mortgage company that may include an inspection of the property to ensure that they are releasing the funds for the repairs that are being made.

What About FEMA?

FEMA (federal emergency management assistance) can help with emergency housing, pushing through small business loans, and more but FEMA typically does not get involved in home repair costs and other property repairs.

FEMA is typically around for the crisis period immediately following the storm to ensure that people have shelter, food and water. They support towns and municipalities with storm cleanup and funding. A lot of people mistakenly believe that FEMA will pay for the residential restoration. While it is true there are some emergency funding available, they do not take the place of your homeowners insurance.

Things Will Return to Normal

Sally has really caused a lot of Alabama hurricane damage, but Alabamians are resilient and will come back from this like they have come back from every storm. In the case of restoration slow and steady hands down always wins the race. Before you know it our beautiful coastal towns will be back in shape.

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