Hurricane season is in full swing in Virginia. It is essential to know what steps to take in the unfortunate event that your home is damaged in a storm. The aftermath of a storm can pose serious dangers and put you at risk. Avoid any downed power lines, loose wires, gas leaks, debris, floodwaters or unstable structural damage, and contact 9-1-1 if you encounter any of these. If you encounter substantial damage, it is wise not to reside in your home until you can get an inspector from Stafford County to evaluate the damage to your home.
If needed, contact Stafford County's Department of Development Services to request a building inspector to evaluate your home for structural damages. For inspection questions, contact Stafford County's Community Development Service Center at (540) 658-8650, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In the case of an emergency or after hours, dial 9-1-1 or call the Sheriff's Office non-emergency number at (540) 658-4400.
Assess and document the damage that has been done by the storm as soon as possible. Take photos of the damage for your insurance company and document any potential problems, such as mold, crumbling drywall or exposed power lines. It is a good idea to have pictures of your house's normal state for comparison.
Contact your insurance company to make a visit to assess these impacts on your property. The insurance representative will work with you to have repairs done. The process can take several months, but after you've paid your deductible, most insurance policies will cover the remaining costs of repairing the damage. However, most homeowners' insurance policies will not cover flood damage. To determine if you are likely to need flood insurance, visit: www.staffordcountyva.gov/floodzones.
Once a Stafford County building inspector completes a preliminary inspection and your insurance adjuster has had a chance to assess the damage, repairs can be made. The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides a variety of assistance to victims of storm damage. You can get help with temporary housing, repairs, meals for your family, and filing insurance claims.
To find more helpful information and hints, visit www.ready.gov/recovering-disaster.