From storm damage to recovery

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- You can never be too prepared, especially during tornado and hurricane seasons. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) named the first week of May “National Hurricane Preparedness Week” for Mississippi and other hurricane-prone regions around the country.

In less than a month, we’ll be saying goodbye to tornado season and hello to hurricane season. “People sometimes think ‘well we’re not on the coast so we’re not going to be impacted by hurricanes,” said WCBI’s chief meteorologist Isaac Williams. Williams said the viewing area is not immune from storm impacts during hurricane season. “We typically still can get flooding, tornadoes, and wind from landfalling tropical systems even this far inland but we won’t get the storm surge of course since we’re not on the coast.”

Our WCBI weather team encourages storm preps such as having weather radios handy and taking shelter when needed, but what do you do when the storm passes?  Will you be ready when it’s time to make that insurance claim?

“What we do at Property Damage Appraisers, we inspect after the damage has taken place,” said Ryan Stokes, Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Property Damage Appraisers. “So the insurance company or third party administrator hires property damage appraisers to go out and assist the customers on the ground.”

And the more prepared you are, the easier the process will be if you need them.

“Make sure that you’ve got everything documented within your house,” said Stokes. “So, high valuable items -do you have photographs of them? Do you have video evidence? Serial numbers off of appliances, televisions, and high-value items so that you know what’s in your house prior to a storm hitting.”

Stokes said a lot of valuable items go undocumented making it difficult for storm victims to be reimbursed, “Make sure every spring and fall to do a walk-through of your house with your phone. Put it on video. Look at serial numbers. Look at the appliances that you have. Firearms are a big thing. They can be high-value items. Jewelry. A lot of people forget about their appliances but refrigerators can be two or $3,000 for a refrigerator. Take a video of the serial numbers so you can document those things.”

So, if you are fully prepared once that storm does hit, how quickly can you recover?

“It really depends on your insurance company but if you understand your insurance policy. If you have good documentation, you can look at one to two weeks to bring fully recovered,” said Stokes.

PDA recommends that you save your documentation and receipts digitally through the cloud on your phone or a flash drive.

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