Sometimes nature can wreak havoc with our lives. When your in-home work space is damaged by storms, knowing how to pull things back together can be overwhelming. Here is important advice for renovating your office to put you back on track and avoid more troubles down the road.
First Thing’s First
Once you are assured your family members are safe, you may be tempted to start cleaning up the mess. However, when your property is damaged by a storm, one of the first things you should do is contact your insurance company. As Houzz points out, sometimes getting an adjuster to come to your home and make an evaluation can take time, especially if you live in an area extensively damaged by storms. If connecting with your insurance company is difficult, try employing multiple methods. Call, fax, email, and check their website for additional resources. You should also check your homeowners insurance policy to review what is covered. Some policies will replace items, some won’t, and some pay for reduced replacement costs. You should also examine whether your insurance covers your home business separately, as some experts note that not all homeowners policies cover home business-related damages.
The next step in dealing with storm damage is to document the damage to your home. You can video record or photograph the destruction and create an itemized list of lost and damaged items. Depending on your policy, you may need to research the replacement costs for items before you can receive your settlement. If you must make immediate repairs to make your home livable, an emergency restoration contractor can help with assessing damage and cleaning up.
Repairs made prior to your insurance company’s inspection must meet the criteria for making your dwelling safe and to prevent further damage. This might include things like removing trees or tarping a roof. Use extreme caution when climbing ladders, walking in a damaged building, interacting with wiring, and cutting trees. If you’re in doubt of the safety of a situation, ensure a professional does the work instead of attempting it yourself. Keep any receipts for purchases relating to your storm damage to include with your claim information.
Planning Your Rebuild
Once your insurance company gives you the go-ahead, you will need to hire a contractor for repairs. Your insurance company might recommend someone to you. If not, search for someone local if at all possible, inquiring with friends, neighbors, and area businesses for references. Check the credentials of prospective contractors, and as The Balance explains, you should get estimates from them at no charge. Your insurance company will pay the contractor directly for the storm damage.
You should rebuild in a manner that will improve your situation and help prevent future storm damage. Some experts suggest high-impact glass and functional (versus decorative) shutters to protect windows. You can also reinforce your attic area and roof, and consider replacing the roof with a high-impact material. Another suggestion is to brace your garage door to better withstand storms. Any changes from the original dwelling will need to be paid for by you.
Assemble the Funds
If your business doesn’t have money available to pay for the work, one suggestion is to finance your renovations with a loan. There are many business loans available to small businesses that can help you get your home office back on track more quickly. Other options include a mortgage refinance, home equity line of credit, home equity loan, or using a credit card. Remember to keep the receipts for any business-associated expenses, as money spent on your home business can often be included in your tax documentation.
Better Than Before
Storms can damage your home and disrupt your life. However, with smart renovations, you can rebuild your home office in a way that it is less apt to suffer future damage. When natural disasters cause trouble, be prepared — and protect your work space!
Contributing Author: Bradley Davis is a retired firefighter from Southern California. He has seen plenty of natural disasters and the damage they cause. He strives to help others prepare and recover. His mission is to spread information about preparing for natural disasters.