So you've just experienced a really bad storm, hurricane-force winds, or serious hail: Now comes the painful period of cataloguing weather damage to your house. Are you noticing serious damage to your siding? Here are the appropriate steps to take next.
Identifying the Siding Damage
If you have experienced severe weather and your house has suffered some damage, the first step is to get outside and take a close look. It may hurt, but you need to walk around your house and catalogue the damage.
Depending on the type of storm, you may see cracks in the siding, holes punctured from hail or debris, or chips torn offer. Some areas may have paint damage, while other spots may have fully torn boards or slats, based on what type of siding you have. When you find obvious damage, make a note of it and take a picture with your phone or digital camera. Documenting the damage will be very important.
Contact your insurance company
Insurance policies usually cover storm damage…but only if you act immediately. Wait too long, and you will automatically be disqualified when making your claim. So call your agent, preferably the day after the storm, and make arrangements.
Insurance companies will need to confirm the weather damage first, and make sure that it was indeed caused by the storm. Agents look at a number of different factors, including maps, weather reports, and of course your home (here is where your photos can come in handy). Ask your agent what you should do next, and what information you need to provide. It's important to contact your insurance company before picking up debris or making arrangements for any kind of repairs.
Get an inspection and estimate for repairs
After making insurance arrangements, it's time to call up a siding professional and ask for an inspection following your storm damage. When the technician shows up, present all the damage done to your house and ask for data on getting repairs done.
Note two things: First, a competent contractor should offer you a free estimate to get your damage repaired. Paying for an estimate is a sign that you may be the victim of scammers, who tend to pop up after a bad storm. Second, because severe storms do lead to a lot of damage. A contractor's schedule tends to fill up quickly: Expect a bit of wait time, up to a few weeks, based on when you arrange for the inspection.
It pays to find a qualified professional who can also take a look at your gutters and roof at this point. If your siding has weather damage, chances are good that your roof also has problems, and you may not have noticed.
Pick weather resistant siding
If damage is extensive, consider using this opportunity (and the insurance payout) to replace your siding with a more weather-resistant version. Ask the professional what types of siding hold out best against the weather in your area.