What to do when your windows are damaged in a (thunder) storm.
Regardless of the season, storm damage is a concern for everyone from homeowners to real estate agents, car owners and business owners. Be it hail damage or debris from a thunderstorm, there is always a risk of coming home to broken glass and other damage.
A storm rolls in. You curl up under a blanket and turn on Netflix, trying to ignore the howling wind and rain outside. CRASH! A tree branch smashes through your living room window, scattering glass across the carpet. You look over the mess, shaken but unharmed. Now what?
Broken Glass? Here’s What to Do and Who to Call
1. The first thing to do is record the damage that has occurred. Providing photos and written documentation of the damage to your home or vehicle will help your insurance provider (and whatever restoration professional you employ) reach a fair and equitable result for your claim. News articles can be a useful resource for verifying the significance of the storm damage.
2. Contact several restoration companies or contractors to perform an estimate for you. Using multiple sources will help with the accuracy of the estimate. Make certain that the contractors inspect your entire home or business, not just the obvious broken windows.
3. Review your insurance and make sure you understand what your policy provides.
4. Contact your insurance provider and report your claim. Provide all photos and documentation, as well as the estimate from the contractor of your choice.
5. Arrange for your insurance adjuster and the contractor you choose to view the storm damage on the same day. Having all involved parties present will allow a more accurate assessment and facilitate faster resolution.
6. Know your rights! If your home is damaged and your claim is denied, you have the right to contact different insurance adjusters for an assessment. You pay your premiums, and you deserve to be compensated for whatever damages, however minor, you experience.
7. Once your claim is approved, you can let your contractor get to work. Your insurance will pay you twice – once for the material cost of the job, and a second time after the repairs have passed a city inspection.
8. When you are satisfied with a job well done, ask your contractor to sign a lien waiver. Submit your final payment and take a deep breath. You made it.
Beware of “Storm Chaser” Window Contractors
You may have heard of “storm chasers.” No, not like the people who research tornados like in the movie “Twister.” Storm chasers are (often out-of-state) contractors who will attempt to get you to sign a contract, but then leave after the work has been signed up but not conducted. Don’t fall for it.
Ask any prospective contractor these questions to make sure they are legitimate:
- What cities are they licensed in, and what licenses do they have, and where did they come from?
- What is the contractor name they are using/working under?
- What storms have they done restoration work for in the past?
If the contractor seems like the real deal, follow these steps:
- Ask the contractor to walk you through the repair proposal step-by-step.
- Ask for them to give you an estimate, and check it online with them while they are with you.
- Don’t sign anything unless you feel satisfied, and never sign something with a contingency.
- If you feel comfortable, ask the contractor to walk you through the contract, and ask them to meet with your insurance adjuster when he/she comes to assess the damage.
Research Can Protect You
Research is the best thing you can do in a situation like this. Verify what your insurance policy covers, who your contractor is, and whether your insurance adjuster is giving you a fair assessment of the damage value and repair cost.
Please contact our residential glass department if you have any questions at 888.369.9043.