What To Do After a Hurricane or Tropical Storm

There are many articles about how to prepare for a storm. This one is about what to do AFTER a hurricane or tropical storm.

Main blog image - What to Do After the Storm text with hurricane image.

Before and during the storm

The best outcome will always be result of having properly prepared for the storm. A great resource for preparation tips is ready.gov. Please don't skimp on the prep.

During the storm, stay inside until it is truly safe to go out. Don’t risk injury by jumping the gun and heading out too soon, it’s just not worth it.

Immediately following the storm

Do a walkaround and look for:

  • Wind damage to your roof, gutters, and siding
  • Tree damage to your home and outbuildings
  • Water damage inside the home
  • Damage to your vehicles
  • Hazards that could cause damage in the near future. Common examples include broken and hanging tree limbs, rising water, and trip-hazard debris in walkways.

Reduce further damage as much as possible:

Most insurance policies have requirements that the owner do what they can to mitigate additional damage. Don’t worry, they don’t expect you to get on top of your 3-story home and tarp the roof down, only do what you can safely manage.

Common examples of how to mitigate damage include:

  • Placing buckets under drips or leaks
  • Putting tarps over broken windows (including broken car windows)
  • Moving furniture away from damaged windows or leaks
  • Moving wet items to dry areas
  • Drying things out as much as possible (if you have a wet/dry shop vac, go for it!)

You may also call a disaster repair or damage restoration company like Servpro. But before you do that, read the next section about turning in a claim.

Turn in a claim

If the damage is extensive enough to warrant turning in a claim, it’s time to call your agent or the insurance company. While there’s no fixed rule on when to call the insurance company first and your agent second or vice versa, here are some things to consider:

  • If you want advice on the potential claim and there’s little risk of further damage, call your agent first. Bear in mind, after a natural disaster, your agent may be overwhelmed with calls. Please be patient and leave a voicemail or email, your agent will respond as fast as they possible can.
  • If you have major damage, it probably makes sense to turn the claim in directly with the company immediately, you want to be 1st in line if you can. If you have a giant oak tree laying on your house or half your roof is missing its shingles, call the insurance company first and then your agent. Most companies will dispatch a damage restoration company or help you with the process. If the company is being slow to respond or not offering help finding a disaster recovery company, go ahead and make the call to one yourself to get emergency repairs underway.
  • If you have a policy through a company like Lloyd’s (typically referred to as a “non-admitted carrier” and common in coastal areas) it’s usually best to contact your agent to turn in a claim.

To make the process as smooth as possible, here’s what you need handy when you call your company or agent:

  • Your policy number
  • Your contact info (including anyone you want to use as a back-up number)
  • As clear a description of damage as you can provide

It's also worth noting that turning in a claim via the company website or phone app may be the fastest way to get your claim started.

You can find the company phone number on your insurance documents.

At the bottom of this article, I’m including the phone numbers for several common insurance companies. Please feel free to forward this article to everyone you know!

Wait and make the best of it:

Aside from the actual damage and disruption to your life, the waiting is probably the hardest part (my apologies to the late Tom Petty for borrowing the line).

Now that you’ve started the ball rolling, all you can do is wait and cleanup. There’s a good chance the tree removal, disaster recovery, insurance agency, and insurance company adjusters are all working at or above capacity . . . and you can be sure they’re all working their butts off to help all their clients, including you, as fast as they possibly can. Keep in mind that they’re also triaging claims based on severity, if you have a broken window you’ll be prioritized below the home with a tree in their living room.

Keep a positive mindset and remember that, as stressful as things are at the moment, this too will pass. And when it does, it’s going to be a heck of a story. If you have kids, treat it like an adventure. Disasters can make for stronger families and deeper relationships with neighbors, just hang in there!

List of insurance company claims websites and phone numbers

Here is a list of common insurance companies in the New England area and their claims websites and phone numbers.

This list includes some companies that Safford Insurance does not represent but your friends or family might currently be insured with. Please feel free to forward this article to everyone you know!

Disclaimer: We’ll do our best to keep this list up to date but we can’t guarantee the list is 100% accurate at all times. If you find any of the links or numbers are incorrect, please let us know!

Claims phone numbers and websites for common personal insurance companies (home/auto):

Claims number and websites for common commercial or business insurance companies:

I hope you found this useful information. Please feel free to share it with those you care about. If you have questions or would like a second opinion on your insurance, please don't hesitate to grab some time on my calendar or reach out to me using the contact form below.

About Greg Safford

Bringing over 15 years of insurance experience, Greg is client focused and passionate about helping individuals and businesses understand their insurance options so they are prepared for the unexpected. With so many options, Greg is dedicated to helping clients make educated decisions about protecting their assets. When not working with customers, Greg can be found hiking, fishing, or spending time with family.