I went with another volunteer group this weekend to help a homeowner that needed some trees and debris removed. She and her family had just moved into the house a few months ago and knew it was going to be a fixer-upper. She works at Bay Medical and rode out the storm at the hospital, not knowing what she would come home to.
We had about 20 people there and in a few hours had pretty well cut and moved the downed trees to the side of the road. Up and down her street you couldn't even see the houses because the piles of tree limbs were ten feet high. It will be a while before they get power because we saw several power poles down along the road.
They were fine and the house will probably be a relatively easy fix but we got to talking and she ended up showing me their insurance policy. She told me they chose their homeowners insurance purely on price, she had no idea what the coverages were. First off that just not ever a good idea unless you know the insurance agent and trust them to give you good coverage as well.
In this case she didn't know the agent and didn’t check the coverage and started freaking out worried she wouldn't have enough. This is not the time you want to start thinking about whether or not you will be able to fix your house. Anyway, the coverage was minimal and didn’t include things many standard policies would have included but it should be enough to get her on her feet again.
The coolest part of the day was once we were finished with that house we asked the neighbors if they needed help because their property was in much worse shape than the first one. They had one tree scraped up against the house which had removed all the siding on one side, one leaning on the front roof, and one across the driveway right in front of the garage trapping their car inside.
It took several hours but we managed to free them and they were incredibly grateful. We left that day feeling both accomplished and overwhelmed, we had done so much but there are so many more that need even more work than these two homes. Many don’t have insurance or don’t have enough.
I met with some members of the local Building Industry Association and if you know of anyone without insurance that had storm damage or is in great need, please contact me or the BIA here: