Post-Storm Glass Damage? Clean Up Safely
Post-storm cleanup and recovery can be overwhelming and dangerous, particularly when it comes to damaged glass. Before you go marching in with a shovel and bag, get the information you need to stay safe, clean up effectively, and avoid insurance reimbursement snafus.
If You Have Broken Glass from the Storm
- Stay safe.
Glass is sharp and dangerous, and your home may present an array of structural, electrical and health hazards post-flood that create added risk.
- Call a repair or remediation service.
The faster you replace the window or door glass (or board up) the less you’ll have to worry about additional weather-related damage, theft, or vandalism. A repair or board-up service can also help you meet strict insurance requirements to secure your property. Without timely attention, you could be deemed ineligible for reimbursement. If you must address broken glass yourself, do so with thick (leather/garden) gloves and sturdy, closed-toe shoes.
- Assess stability.
If the window (or your home’s) structure is in any way unstable, additional glass or construction debris can fall and cause injury.
- Look beyond the immediate area.
Damaged glass may have been blown or carried by water to multiple areas/surfaces of your home.
- Carefully remove damaged glass shards.
Glass shards could fall as the window is secured/boarded up. Snap off damaged glass carefully with gloved hands. Use a vacuum, tape, or slice of bread to pick up remaining shards. If glass is only cracked, but still solid, tape the glass carefully instead.
- Dispose of broken glass correctly and quickly.
Double-bag shards, immediately putting in a hard-sided trash receptacle to prevent unsuspecting helpers from grabbing the dangerous bag.
Putting the Pieces Back Together
To avoid a loss of covered reimbursement or a delay in claims, file insurance claim(s) as quickly as possible. A new insurance law goes into effect on Friday (the “Hailstorm Bill”), and lawyers are urging the public to file claims before it goes into effect. Remember, you may need to contact multiple agencies for coverage, including homeowner’s, flood, and automobile insurance providers. Note the typical homeowner’s policy covers wind and rain, NOT flood insurance, which must be purchased from a private insurer or the National Flood Insurance Program.
- Document losses with photos and video.
Take your time, being detailed and specific, including possessions and structural damage. You cannot have too many images. Don’t forget discarded items. Those items overlooked won’t be reimbursed. Also look to online receipts as proof of previous, large purchases over the years. Photos of your home and possessions before the storm are also recommended.
- Keep a diary.
Logging the process, whom you’ve spoken to and when, housing, meals, medications, clothing and other replacement purchases made, like appliances and TVs.
- Be careful with repair contractors.
You can choose your own, and are not stuck with those recommended by insurance. Get a written estimate, don’t rush into signing contracts. Reputable businesses won't require you to pay 100% cash up-front. Shady contractors are unfortunately rampant post-disaster.
- Don’t give-up.
You have the right to meet with three adjusters to get proper reimbursement. Have a restoration professional present at adjustment to ensure fair compensation. If you don’t have flood insurance and sustained damage that was not covered, contact FEMA for other disaster assistance opportunities.
Struggling to rebuild after the storm? You are not alone. Contact the friendly staff at Glass Doctor (or our Neighborly company Rainbow International) for help traversing the murky waters of post-storm cleanup and rebuilding today.
To help meet all of your home service needs, check out Neighborly.