Living in the DFW area puts you in the line of extreme weather. In fact, you might already be dealing with the expensive, time-consuming and stressful reality of recent tornado, hail, or high wind damage. Now for those of you that have skirted disaster but want to be ready for future storms, here are important tips in preparing for the worst:

Before extreme weather hits:

  1. Check the extent to which your insurance coverage helps and what those deductibles are if you are making a claim related to these kinds of storms. Home insurance is the first thing that comes to mind, but don’t forget to check your car insurance as well.
  2. Take pictures of your house now to provide a comparison with “before” and “after” shots. Don’t be haphazard in your picture taking. Get good pictures, take your time, and take a lot of them. Make sure they are clear and show the gutter, furniture, etc in full detail.
  3. Take pictures of your car(s), back, front, sides and roof and again make them clear and catch all the aspects of the vehicle.
  4. If you are serviced with a dish on your roof, take some before shots of that too.
  5. If there is concern for your car and you can get out prior to the storm striking, you can place large towels over it, then drape a heavy blanket over them all and then securely fasten it down with ropes or bungee cords.

After extreme weather hits:

  1. Make a checklist of all home, car, outdoor furniture damage whether small or big.
  2. Take pictures and make sure all the pictures cover the checklist. Be very detailed with those pictures, gutters, chimney, fencing, roofing, furniture and more.
  3. Call your insurance company immediately. Sure they will be busy, but at least get on their list. Don’t wait for the line to form with procrastinators. Don’t assume your roof made it through without a scratch, have someone get up there.
  4. Don’t wait for the adjuster to come see the house. Get some independent estimates on repairs pronto. The more informed you are about the extent of your damage, whether seen or unseen, the better negotiator you will be with your insurance companies.
  5. When the insurance adjuster does come. Have your list before you to make sure he sees all the damage you have found on home, outside furniture, AC units, and your cars.
  6. Be organized. Establish a notebook or put the before and after pictures on one disc. Place the disc, estimates, receipts, insurance paperwork in a 9 X 12 envelope.

Although we never feel completely ready when severe storms happen, knowing that you have made the best effort to document the before and after will ease some of the pain.

By Richard Matteson