13.11.2015 Home Insurance
Storms can blow up seemingly out of nowhere, leaving you with damage to deal with both inside and outside your home. Even if you manage to escape the worst of the destruction caused by a storm, you still need to take care to check your home to deal with anything as quickly as possible.
Doing what you can to counter the aftermath of a storm ensures that you are protected should the weather worsen again. It will also help you to be aware of any issues in your neighbourhood that could pose a risk to your home or health in the future.
There are a number of things you should remember once the storm is over, so here are a few steps to take:
Use a torch
If you are inspecting your home for damage at night, you should use an electric or battery-powered light. Torches are a much safer option than candles, as they don't have an open flame, which can be dangerous if there is a risk of damaged gas lines or appliances.
It is a good idea to have an emergency kit at the ready at all times, which should include several torches, batteries and blankets. Knowing where this is will make things easier should you experience a blackout due to a storm.
Check for hazards
If a storm has been particularly bad, it could mean that you've been left with some hazards around your property. You should put on a pair of sturdy shoes and check both inside and outside of your home for things like broken glass, exposed nails, fallen or broken tree limbs or cracks in the walls.
Small things, such as broken glass, can be cleared up easily - just be careful not to cut yourself - while things like cracks in the wall may need to be looked at by a professional. It is important to call the right people in at the earliest opportunity to avoid further damage.
Assess your gas line
If you smell gas, suspect a leak or can see a physical break in the line, you should turn off your gas, open a window and leave the property. You should not attempt to deal with the leak yourself; instead, call the Gas Networks Ireland - no matter what time of day it is.
An engineer will then be sent to your home to assess the situation. It may be that you then need to find a Gas Safe registered engineer in your area to deal with any damage to appliances. The Gas Networks Ireland engineer will let you know what the problem is so it can be dealt with quickly.
Check your neighbourhood
It also pays to know what is happening in your area, as some things can affect your home or put you at risk. This means it is a good idea to check your neighbourhood yourself, taking care not to go near anything that looks dangerous, and to see what the news or social media are saying.
Things like downed power lines or damaged flood defences can affect your home and could mean you are still in danger of other issues arising. Knowing if anything like this is a reality will allow you to prepare, such as by laying sandbags at the entrances to your house to protect against flooding.
Report any damage
If you find that the storm has caused damage to your property or your car, you should contact your insurance company to see what is covered and what the next steps are. The sooner you do this, the sooner your claim will be handled, which will help to restore peace of mind.