April 3rd tornado in Arlington, Texas
Photo courtesy of Monique
We are finally starting work on a couple of homes in Arlington that were damaged during the tornado on April 3rd. That was a crazy day, as approximately 13 tornadoes tore through the Ft. Worth-Dallas area. I was at our office in Dalworthington Gardens and Mike Jr., Dave and Neil were working on a house two miles away at Green Oaks and Pleasant Ridge. The tornado went right between us!!
I admit I’m one of those dummies who runs outside to see what’s going on when the sirens and warnings start. I did just that and there it was—the tornado had lifted and was heading north and west away from me. It hit some houses just a block from where Mike, Jr. was working. They could see the debris swirling in the air and he said there was insulation falling out of the sky like snow. The three of them spent a few cozy minutes with the homeowners hunkered down in a small bathroom. Mrs. Homeowner said it was cramped, but having all those big guys with them made them feel much safer.
So here we are, four weeks later, wading through all the insurance paper work, preparing and signing contracts, dealing with the mortgage companies to get the funds released, negotiating with each neighbor that shared a damaged fence, all ready to start. One lady said, “the tornado didn’t kill me, but the insurance company, the mortgage company and you contractors are about to get the job done!” Her insurance claim paperwork was 20 pages long and very detailed. I appreciate the detail in the reports, but for someone not familiar with the processes and terms, it might as well be written in a foreign language.
Getting your home repaired after a major storm can be very frustrating. If you ever have major storm damage, here are some tips to get you through the process, and hopefully ease the stress.
- Once the storm has passed and the insurance company has been contacted, take a few deep breaths, relax, and be patient while the all the processes take place. It just takes time, and getting all worked up because it isn’t going fast enough will just feed the frustration.
- If your damage includes multiple items like a roof, siding, fences, and trees, hire one contractor to handle the whole claim. Trying to hire different contractors for each phase becomes a load of confusing work for you, and really should be handled by a Professional Contractor.
- Use a local contractor. We’ve all heard the stories and read the warnings about out-of-town contractors taking advantage of storm victims. They aren’t all bad, but a local contractor will be in it with you for the long haul, and will be available in the future if issues come up.
- CHECK THE CONTRACTOR’S REFERENCES!!! If the contractor doesn’t give you at least ten references from local homeowners for whom they have done work in the past year, move on to the next one. Be sure to check the references! Ask three questions: was the work done to your expectations; was the work done when it was promised; and did the original quoted price hold up?
- Watch out for the wannabe Contractor. Question your potential Contractor about who he will hire to perform the various tasks because in this day and age, you need a professional for each phase of the process. The Contractor should be bragging on all of his subcontractors, and the references you call should verify what he tells you. You want a professional roofer, professional gutter fabricator and installer; you want a professional painter, etc. You want to avoid the guy that “is a roofer, and between jobs his crew will go buy gutter sections from Home Depot and put them up, and when they are done, well, they are all sorta painters and they’ll get that knocked out too,” types. Often their intentions are good, but I’ve seen these situations go bad many times, and the quality of the work is just not up to best standards.
- Make sure the Contractor is pulling the necessary permits. The permits should be posted on the job site. If the Contractor says a permit isn’t necessary or wants to dodge a permit, call your Building Official and be sure you understand what is required and that your Contractor is adhering to city policy.
Kudos to the City of Arlington for streamlining their permit process for the storm-damaged projects. I was dreading going to City Hall to pull roof and fence permits, and was very pleasantly surprised when I was in and out of there in only 30 minutes! It did cause me to wonder why they couldn’t do that all the time! If you or anyone you know needs help with their storm damage and insurance claims, let us know how we may help.
And one last thing, if you’re a dummy like me and want to see the tornado, the time to run for shelter is when you see debris flying around, because it’s not the tornado that kills you, it’s the stuff flying in it!!