The Midwest is subject to a variety of types of severe weather and natural disasters. Most of us did not anticipate the severity of the heavy flooding that occurred last year and the tremendous damage it would cause. Some were perhaps more prepared than others, but likely we all had a bit of a wake-up call as the flooding became worse and worse. Those living and working in floodplain areas sustained thousands of dollars in damages to property and goods.
Heavy rains and flooding are not the only types of severe weather we experience in the Midwest. Recent weather alerts have warned of high winds and possible tornadoes. Hailstorms, heavy snow, and cold spells are also familiar to people in Nebraska and the surrounding region. Though there is little we can do to affect a change in severe weather, there is much we can do to prepare for potential catastrophes and educate ourselves on our options should such events occur.
Know Your Insurance Options
Having insurance coverage of some type is a must, whether it be for your business, your vehicle, your own home, or the apartment you are currently renting. Insurance policies range in price and coverage, with options for just about any potential disaster a person could anticipate. Even with the array of options available, it can be easy to purchase only the necessary minimum to comply with applicable laws and regulations. Most insurance policy owners don’t have a good understanding of what is or isn’t covered under their policy until a crisis has unfolded and it’s too late to do anything different. Asking your agent to educate you on the specifics of your policy is important.
Home and auto insurance are necessary types of coverage that most people purchase automatically, but many may not realize that a more comprehensive insurance, such as flood insurance, is not included in most homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies. The Department of Homeland Security estimates that just one inch of flood water can cause more than $25,000 in damage to your home. Purchasing flood insurance can ensure your savings will be safe and that you’ll have adequate funds to pay for damages should you be subject to flooding.
Matthew Moorhead with Shelter Insurance shared his reasoning behind the importance of flood insurance.
“Whether for a home or business, flood insurance is vital for anyone who lives or works in areas where flooding may occur,” he said. “It can be easy to assume flooding will never occur at your home or your office, but it’s a chance you really don’t want to take. The costs of flood damage can be astronomical. For businesses that experience flooding, flood insurance can be the difference between staying open or closing for good. Many business owners assume that if their business is not located in a floodplain, they do not need flood insurance. However, floods often occur in areas outside of floodplains. On the upside, if your business is not in a floodplain, your flood insurance premiums will likely be lower than they would be otherwise.”
Matthew shared common misconceptions many business owners have about coverage in their commercial policies.
“Often, business owners assume that their commercial policy will cover damage from a flood,” he said. “The reality is most will not. A commercial policy also will not cover damage to business vehicles, but those may be covered if you purchased a comprehensive plan for your business auto insurance. Another important thing to note is that flood insurance might cover mold damage, but only if you can prove the mold wasn’t there before the flood and you took reasonable actions to prevent it from forming after the flood. One of the most important things to note is that you need to plan ahead if you decide to buy flood insurance. There’s usually a 30-day waiting period after you buy flood insurance before your coverage actually begins. Most property and casualty insurance companies don’t offer flood insurance; however, a Shelter agent can answer any questions you may have about flood insurance and help you through the process of getting a quote through a flood insurance carrier.”
Whether you’re looking for flood insurance or another type of coverage, Shelter Insurance can educate you on your options and help you see the weak and strong points in your current coverage so you can better know how you should prepare for emergencies.
Another expert we talked to about insurance coverage is Frantz Antoine with Xcel Roofing. Something he emphasized is that, when it comes to dealing with insurance, you’re not going to be confident throughout the process unless you’re working with someone you can trust. There are plenty of companies out there that won’t lose any sleep over taking advantage of homeowners for the sake of making a quick buck. It’s sad but true. While any company can say they operate with integrity, Xcel Roofing lives it out. They’ve been a trusted contractor and professional roofer in the local area since 1990, and they were even recognized by the Better Business Bureau as an Integrity Award winner.
If your roof or any part of your exterior has experienced hail or wind damage during a storm, your head is probably spinning with dollar signs. This doesn’t have to be a dreaded process, though. Frantz has worked with countless insurance claims, so he knows exactly how to maximize the amount you’re due under the terms and conditions of your insurance policy.
“When it comes to storm damage, your insurance company will likely ask you to get 2–3 bids from roofers,” explained Frantz. “In doing so, they aren’t necessarily focused on the quality of the company but rather the cheapest option. Everyone wants to spend less money, but you have to remember that you’re going to get what you pay for. Some companies will overlook problem areas during the inspection, including bad flashing (metal fixtures used to prevent leaks), old space decking, rotten wood, etc., just to end up hitting you with ‘surprise costs’ down the road. Or, they will simply do lazy work and cover up these problem areas during the repair.”
“My advice is to come to Xcel first because we’ll advocate on your behalf to get your storm damages inspected, approved, and repaired the right way,” Frantz added. “Residential or commercial, we’ll first meet with you to determine if your roof NEEDS to be replaced and if it CAN be replaced by insurance. As storm specialists, we can evaluate if we’re dealing with strictly storm damage that can be covered, or if there are deeper issues that go beyond insurance claims. For those instances, we offer a variety of financing options so you don’t have to be overwhelmed with an aggressive up-front repair cost. Sometimes, a simple small payment seems much more manageable.”
Xcel Roofing is proud to work with two leading, nationally licensed and recognized sales financing companies for all your exterior project needs. With insurance deductibles rising, homeowners are looking at options for financing before making that final decision on their exterior repairs. Some of the plans offered through Xcel include:
- A Deferred Payment Plan
- Same as Cash Payment Plan
- No interest, no payment for six months
- Low monthly payments
- Interest-free financing
“Beware of ‘storm chasers’ and out-of-town roofers who don’t really care about your home, your family, or your community,” advised Frantz, who was born and raised right here in Lincoln. “While plenty of companies can replace a hail-damaged roof or siding, you want to work with a contractor you can trust to do an outstanding, thorough job. We are local professionals who stand behind our work. Being a Platinum Preferred Contractor with Owens Corning, we offer you what most companies can’t: the industry’s biggest and best warranty. We earned that prestigious status so we can offer you the best in product, service, and workmanship warranties that you deserve.”
Take Preventative Measures While the Sky is Still Clear
In addition to purchasing the right insurance policy, there are other preventative measures you can take to prepare for severe weather emergencies.
The key to safely outlasting severe weather lies in creating an emergency plan long before a storm rolls in. The National Weather Service recommends you lay out a safety plan for emergencies before a crisis strikes and practice it with everyone in your home at least twice a year, including young children so they know what to do in the event of an emergency if no adults are at home. Having a plan can ground you when an emergency actually occurs because you’ll be able to think directly to your outlined course of action instead of scrambling to come up with something on the spot.
Taking steps to prepare your physical surroundings can also give you strength and stability during a weather emergency. Advanced measures to protect your property can pay great dividends by saving you stress, frustration, and money.
Revolution Roof, an authorized Roof Maxx contractor, provides a product that can fortify your roof against coming storms, and at a very reasonable price. We spoke to Revolution Roof Owner Jeremy Schafer to learn more about this incredible product.
“Roof Maxx is unlike anything that has come before it,” he said. “If your roof is starting to wear and you worry it may not be able to last through another heavy storm but you don’t want to dish out the money for a full roof replacement, Roof Maxx offers an affordable alternative that will strengthen and revitalize old, brittle shingles and make your roof like new again—and at a fraction of the cost of a roof replacement! Roof Maxx is the world’s first asphalt shingle rejuvenator, and it restores and extends the life of aging shingles by stopping de-granulation, re-igniting shingle seal tabs, and reviving the shingles’ performance. Through penetrating soy methyl ester oils, a roof’s flexibility, pliability, and waterproofing can be restored. Most aging shingles become stripped of their necessary petrochemical oils and granules until they are dry and brittle, but Roof Maxx’s revolutionary soy-fusion technology solves this problem. Roof Maxx can help your not-so-new roof function as though it is new so your home is storm ready.”
Whatever advance actions you take to prepare for weather emergencies, you will experience peace of mind knowing you’ve done your part to protect your property and get ready for the storms that may come your way.
Since these are such important considerations, we talked to another roofing contractor who has a keen understanding of the proactive measures that can be taken to extend the life of your roof. Terry Neemann with Neemann & Sons understands that adequate ventilation in your roof can help prevent moisture buildup which lowers the risk of rotting in the wood. This also helps protect against weather-related wear and tear, and increases the life of the shingles.
“When moisture and humidity build up in your attic, it can cause wood rot and water damage,” Terry said. “Proper ventilation, such as installing attic fans and vents, not only help extend the life of your roof, but they can help with the heating, cooling, and energy costs in your home. Attic ventilation helps keep your roof young by ridding the area of excess moisture. Vents help ventilate the area to keep the roof protected. If it’s time to replace the roof on your home, you can trust your home with Neemann & Sons for professional roofing design, installation, and repairs, using only quality products that fit your budget and exceed your expectations.”
Terry and Chris Neemann started their residential roofing company in 1981. Then, in 2018, they acquired Sprague Roofing Company to also offer the eastern Nebraska area commercial, industrial, low-slope roofing, and repair services. So, not only can Neemann & Sons provide top-notch residential roofing services, they can also ensure your business has adequate ventilation to expand its lifespan. In the event of a storm, they will diligently repair your roof so your business can continue its operation in a safe and comfortable environment.
Get Trustworthy Help in Response to Disasters
Even with the best of safety plans in place, damage may still come to your house, shop, vehicles, or other property during a heavy storm. It’s wise to know in advance who you can trust and look to for help in restoring buildings and repairing damages so you don’t have to waste any time figuring this out. This can also help you avoid scams and lesser-quality services offered by “storm chasers” and those who present themselves as trustworthy local businesses but are in actuality just trying to take advantage of people who are in the midst of a crisis.
Delta Restoration Services is one local restoration company that offers premium services with the benefit of patient, customer-focused attention. We talked to Owner Jeff Carstens about how they help people who have suffered water damage to their property from severe weather.
“We use the latest technologies to relieve the impact of water damage to your property,” he said. “Our emergency water damage restoration services include water extraction and mitigation, structural drying and dehumidification, complete structural restoration and repairs, hardwood floor drying, and leak and moisture detection through infrared technology.
“Water damage can cause numerous unexpected difficulties for your home or business,” Jeff added. “This is why it’s important to call for restoration services as soon as you are aware of an issue so we can not only address the current problem, but prevent additional problems from forming down the road, such as serious mold or structural failure.”
Heavy rain and thunderstorms don’t only result in water damage. It may seem unlikely, but lighting has the potential to strike down and cause a fire at your home or business—not to mention the more common scenario of an electrical fire in the event of a storm due to downed power lines or flooding.
“Lighting doesn’t have to strike directly over your house to cause damage,” Jeff noted. “In fact, lightning from a storm up to 10 miles away can affect your house. Direct lightning certainly has a greater chance of causing a fire, but nearby lightning strikes can still cause electrical system issues. Even if your breaker box has a surge protector to protect your home against power surges, lightning can still enter your home through cable and telephone wires. Damage done to the electrical system could be a fire hazard waiting to happen.”
If a fire does breakout, Delta Restoration Services has specially trained fire repair experts standing by to help you through every aspect of your fire restoration project. Jeff made sure to warn us that even a small structure fire in your home or business can result in smoke that consists of toxic substances that cause serious health problems for people and even pets who ingest too much of them. This is why it’s so important to call on the professionals to take care of the situation with the proper equipment.
When you consider the health and safety of your family in the wake of a storm, only experiencing damage to the exterior of your home or business becomes kind of a best case scenario. A common problem people experience after a storm is scattered debris and obstructions on their property, such as trees that have fallen during the storm. Blue Ox Tree Service can remove dead trees or other obstructions caused by a storm. Their top priority is helping you be safe and returning your property to an orderly, beautiful state. Ed Lankas told us more: “When people find their property torn up after a storm, they usually aren’t prepared to clean it all up themselves. We have the equipment, manpower, and experience to take care of this for you. When you work with Blue Ox, you are in good hands. You can rest knowing we’ll do the hard work you aren’t able to do on your own.”
Setting up tree removal service is a smart preventative measure you can take before storm season hits. It may be hard to say goodbye to your favorite, beautiful pine, but trees that are positioned too close to a home—or any building or vehicle—can be extremely dangerous.
“Keeping trees healthy, pruned, and structurally sound helps minimize accidents before the storm,” noted Ed. “Poorly maintained trees can become a problem, though. There are a few signs that you can check for to let you know if you need to do some trimming or complete removal, such as dead wood, weak branches, and tree decay. As licensed arborists, we know just how to prune and protect your trees to keep them alive and healthy. We also know when it is time to say goodbye to the stalwart guardian of your property. In instances where tree cutters are needed, our team can assess your tree and remove it with professional equipment to ensure you get your tree(s) removed without any damage to your property.”
Ed also operates Red Lion Roofing. If fallen debris or extreme winds have wreaked havoc on your siding, windows, or roof, Red Lion Roofing’s restoration services can make your home good as new again.
“We repair, replace, inspect, and maintain all types of residential and commercial roofing, siding, windows, and even gutters,” Ed informed us. “We pride ourselves in quick response times and affordable pricing. Red Lion Roofing is your trusted source for roofing services, as we do our part to ensure you are getting the highest-quality product and service you can’t find anywhere in the region. Call Red Lion Roofing today and speak to one of our window or siding specialists who can help you diagnose where you are in need of a window replacement or what options are available in terms of siding. We’ll help you build a quote and a solution that matches your budget, and more importantly, your needs.”
If you’ve experienced window damage after a heavy storm, it’s important to work with a trustworthy window company that has the customer’s best interest in mind. Gary Shunkwiler with Heartland of Nebraska Windows believes this wholeheartedly. His goal as a local business owner is to always give his customers the best in terms of quality, prices, and, of course, service. Through Heartland of Nebraska Windows, Gary and his team aim to make the process simple and clear for their customers so that there is no confusion on price and the work to be done.
“We do not and will not ever pressure customers into purchasing any of our services or products,” Gary affirmed. “Our team has over 20 years of experience in the window industry to make sure customers are getting the best service and window care.”
Gary is a family man. He knows that storms can threaten the safety of our loved ones. Throughout his life, he has worked with many families needing repairs to their homes after severe weather strikes.
“Typically, when a homeowner has been hit by severe weather that has damaged their windows, they tend to be in ‘panic mode,’” he said. “Unfortunately, they will often just go with the first window company that walks through the door. It’s not uncommon for companies to take advantage of the homeowner’s situation and try to get as much as they can out of them, especially if the insurance company is paying the bill. Make sure to ask questions to determine the reasoning behind recommendations. Be firm on your stance to decline if you don’t want something.”
As far as working with insurance companies for window replacements goes, Heartland of Nebraska Windows goes the extra mile to talk with your insurance company to help you get what you want and need so you aren’t settling for a lesser quality product.
“We recommend choosing a high-quality vinyl window with a lifetime warranty on every part of the window,” Gary said. “As far as price goes, every window company sets their own pricing structure. Different companies also approach the installation process in different ways. The majority of companies install what is known as ‘pockets’ or ‘inserts.’ These simply sit on top of the existing window framing. The best and only true way to install replacement windows is to go all the way down to the original ‘rough opening,’ or down to the ‘studs,’ which is the process we use. This way you can properly insulate and seal the window against air and water infiltration. You will also have more ‘glass space’ to look through and the windows look like they were original to when the house was constructed.”
Homes and buildings aren’t the only places at risk during a storm. If your vehicle is exposed to the elements in a heavy hailstorm, chances are you will experience damages such as dings or dents.
Hailstorms can do a number on any vehicle, leaving large dents in the body. Depending on the situation and the severity of the damage, Tracy’s Collision Center can approach repairs in multiple ways. They can offer traditional heat repair and apply heat to the dented area so it expands and restores the shape of the surface; after the metal cools, the surface is then repainted. Another option is paintless dent repairs. The technicians at Tracy’s Collision Center work with the metal from the inside out to reshape it without damaging the paint. This works best for smaller dings and dents. If the paint is not damaged on larger dents, this technique may also work in these instances. Whatever approach taken to restore your vehicle, Tracy’s always does so with the greatest level of attention and professionalism so their customers are satisfied with the end result.
The safety and comfort of the customers is the number one goal at Tracy’s, which is why they guarantee their repair work with a lifetime warranty for as long as you own your car. Tracy’s lifetime warranty covers:
- Metalwork repair
- Paint work, including stripes and decals
- Mechanical repairs for one year
- Parts used in your repair for one year
One might think that storm damage can only cause cosmetic damage to a vehicle, but very severe weather can compromise the safety of a car on the road as well. For example, in the event of flooding, turning on your car after its been exposed to deep water can cause damage to the engine. Plus, water in the electrical system could cause a fire. Another concern for trapped moisture is that parts may begin to rust. It is important to dry out the car quickly, cleaning it thoroughly, and potentially replacing carpet or other materials to avoid further damage and unsafe conditions. If your vehicle is not operable, you will need to have it assessed. You will want to find a local, certified mechanic who could give the car a quick driveway inspection and advise on next steps.
Dan Pape with Midtown Body & Paint explained how they go the extra mile to provide top quality services when repairing vehicles damaged by a storm: “Depending on the damage your vehicle has sustained, it may not even be in good enough shape to drive to our body shop,” he said. “We offer towing and shuttle services, or if you need a vehicle while yours is in the shop, an Enterprise Rent-A-Car is conveniently located next door to us. We offer fast and friendly service without compromising on quality in any way. We spray only PPG waterborne paint, we work on all vehicle makes and models, and we always include courtesy detailing in our work because our commitment to excellence is an integral part of everything we do. Whatever repairs you need for your vehicle, you can rest assured that at the end of the process, your vehicle will look good as new. We work with you down to the smallest detail to guarantee your satisfaction.”
Severe weather is a fact of life, especially in Nebraska. Fortunately, there is much we can do to prepare and many excellent services available to help us if and when we find ourselves in a storm.