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WHN TIP: Severe Storm Watch or Warning Just Issued?

Read top emergency preparedness and safety tips from the experts here.

After the Storm

  1. Be safe, be smart.
  2. Consider your family’s health and safety needs.
  3. Continue listening to weather radio and/or local radio or television stations. Your local media will let you know about local, state and federal relief plans as appropriate.
  4. Be aware of fire and electrocution possibilities.
  5. If there is a storm surge, flash flooding or flooding:
    • Stay away from flooded roads, rising streams and storm drains. The power of moving water could sweep you into trouble and you do not know how deep the water actually is. As little as six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet, according to FEMA.
    • If you must travel, check vehicles for damage and give way to emergency vehicles at all times.
  6. If you and your family are safe and healthy and conditions outdoors are safe, consider the needs of your neighbors.

WHN TIP: The Media

Storms make captivating news — downed trees, hail damage and flooding. If a reporter asks to speak with you, it is your choice whether or not to grant an interview. It is OK to say no. If you consider an interview, pause and reflect on your and your family’s welfare before you decide whether to answer questions.

Working With Authorities, Organizations, and Contacting Others

After a storm, local and regional authorities — such as sheriff or police officers, firefighters, ambulance services and state or municipal service workers — may be dispatched to severely affected areas. Relief organizations and volunteers might be dispatched as well. Read Who Will Help You for more information.


Tell friends and relatives that you are safe. Read Contacting Others.


Financial Assistance

Most storms do not qualify for a federal disaster declaration. If your home or property are damaged by winds, hail, fire, trees or other storm-related causes, the main source for financial assistance for your needs will be either your insurance agency, your own financial resources or community and faith-based organizations.

Depending on the severity of the storm, the time in which you receive financial assistance may vary. Remember to contact all possible options for assistance: your insurance agent, the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and other faith-based organizations, and other options.

If your area is declared a federal disaster area, read Financial Assistance, Filing for Federal Relief and Types of Disaster Aid. All three articles offer tips on navigating FEMA, SBA and the federal disaster relief and assistance process.

Document the Damage

If at all possible, take the time to document the damage. This helps with insurance claims.

Go here for tips on taking pictures and cataloguing damaged, lost and missing items.

  • Need help spotting and documenting exterior damage after a storm? Read How to Spot Storm Damage - good tips from a catastrophe insurance adjuster.

Need to make repairs or rebuild your home? Read Home Repairs After a Storm.

Filing an Insurance Claim

Read Filing a Claim - Tips for questions to ask your agent, how to keep detailed records and the claims process.

Home Repair

In many cases, waiting a few weeks (or months) to repair your car or house will cause no further damage, and prices are sometimes more reasonable after the initial rush is over. However, if the roof of your home is leaking or your car’s windows are broken, repairs should be made as quickly as possible.

  1. If you are insured, ask your insurance agent to provide an exact list of what is covered in the rebuilding process. Ask them to explain what items will not be covered by insurance.
    • Also ask for a list of preferred vendors and if you need to hire from the insurance company’s preferred list.
  2. Repair estimates
    • Typically, you will be asked to get several estimates.
    • Get an estimate for full repairs. You’re entitled to have your home restored to its full glory, not just patched up. Keep the receipts!


  3. Rebuilding
    • Be safe, be smart
    • Read our article Rebuilding and Renovating to learn more.
    • Designate a relative or friend to act as the spokesperson between the insurance company, construction crew, family and others involved in the rebuilding process.
    • Wait to hire contractors until the insurance company has assessed the damage.
  4. Contact your local building permit office to check and see what permits you need before you begin.
  5. Read Hiring a Contractor and Hiring Damage Restorers.

WHN TIP: Claims Adjusters.

Do not have your home repaired or property replaced until both have been evaluated by a claims adjuster. A claims adjuster is an agent appointed by your insurance company. To learn more about claims adjusters or what to ask an adjuster, read our article Working with a Claims and/or Public Adjuster

Plan Ahead

  1. Replace the items used from your Home Disaster Preparedness Kit and your Car Emergency Kit.
  2. Review and update your emergency plan.
    • Take the time to evaluate what you would do differently if you had the chance.
    • Be sure to evaluate all aspects of your plan: evacuation plan, home and family preparedness, disaster kits, etc.
  3. Read our Storm - Get Prepared section for more preparedness tips.

Additional Information

Remember ...

The information provided here is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical or legal advice. These tips are from first responders, lawyers, insurance agents and people who have shared real-life advice; always check with a doctor, lawyer or appropriate professional you trust before making any legal or healthcare-related decisions.

Thank you ...

A special thank you to the first responders, emergency workers, government officials, lawyers, insurance agents and people who gave us their time and insight.

Check out the government and non-profit sites we have in Links for more info.

Last Updated: 9/2008


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