No one ever thinks a natural disaster will hit them or their family until it’s too late. Yet natural disasters are responsible for 90,000 deaths per year, as well as billions of dollars in damage.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Keep reading to learn about five integral steps that you should take when recovering from a natural disaster.
1. Take Care of Yourself and Your Family
Understandably, your biggest priority is the safety of your loved ones and yourself. Tend to any immediate needs, particularly if there’s a medical emergency.
If you’ve yet to do so already, consider creating a bug out bag for each member of your family. This bag should contain extra clothes, medical supplies, and important belongings that you’ll need in a worst-case scenario.
If needed, seek shelter, as well.
2. Assess the Damage
Once it’s safe to do so, return to the scene of the accident to see the extent of the damage. Be smart. If it looks as though the structural integrity of the building is weakened, it’s better just to stay out.
With your cellphone or a digital camera, take photographs of the scene, snagging pics from different angles. You’ll also want to write down the specifics of the event, such as when it occurred, signs of visible damage, and so on.
3. Call Your Insurance Provider
At the risk of making a bad situation worse, it’s important to note that most homeowner’s policies don’t cover Acts of God. Instead, you’ll need to take out hazard insurance.
If you do have hazard insurance, take the evidence you’ve collected in the previous step and speak with your insurance provider. Make sure to give them any details you have, including copies of the photographs you took, as they’ll need them to fill out a claim.
Your provider will send out an insurance adjuster to check the damage for themselves.
As cynical as it may sound, your provider is looking to give you as little money as possible, thus, the adjuster may miss certain details. To make sure you get the most money possible, you’ll want to hire an independent insurance adjuster. Kerby & Associates has some great info on what to look for.
4. If Returning Home, Look for Warning Signs
Depending on the extent of the damage, your home may still be in good enough condition that you and your family can live there for the time being. This isn’t always a great idea, however.
Natural disasters can cause lose wiring, damage to your home’s structural integrity, gas leaks, and more. Play it safe. If you suspect something is off, leave immediately.
5. Take Care of Your Mental Well-Being
Living through a natural disaster can be a stressful experience. Some survivors even develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Talk with family or friends about what happened. Even if you just need to vent, speaking about the experience can be a freeing and emotionally positive experience.
Recovering from a Natural Disaster: Tips for Staying Safe
Natural disasters can cause physical and emotional turmoil. Give yourself time to grieve and prioritize safety. Recovering from a natural disaster may take some time, so hunker down and rely on those you love.
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