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The aftermath of severe weather has left many homeowners and business owners wondering what to do.

Damage caused by rain, hail, lightning or tornadoes are generally covered by a standard home or business insurance policy. Flood insurance is not included in a typical homeowners, renters or business owner's policy. You can obtain flood insurance by the National Flood Insurance Program.

For those who have suffered property damage, here are a few tips that might help you as you move forward.

  • Call your insurance agent as soon as you can. Be sure that your agent knows how to get in touch with you especially if you have to vacate your property.
  • Take reasonable steps to prevent additional damage, but don't put yourself in harm's way!
  • Closely inspect property and cars for damage. Note and photograph any damage.
  • If you are required to seek temporary housing, be sure and check your policy for "loss of use" coverage.
  • Be sure to document all damages and have written statements for your claims.

If you are in need of a contactor or home repair, here are some tips that could save you from being a victim of contractor fraud.

  • Obtain a list of reputable contactors from your insurance carrier
  • Contact multiple contractors and obtain more than one estimate
  • Don't allow a contractor to inspect your property when you're not at home.
  • Obtain in writing, the terms and conditions of the project
  • Pay the contractor by check or credit card rather than in cash, and do not pay in full until all work has been finished.
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