Home Damage: How to Recover from a Disaster

Home Damage

When you’re in the thick of a natural or manmade disaster impacting your home, it can be tough to know where to turn for help. Your first priority should always be your safety – and the safety of your family and neighbors. Whether the damage to your home comes from a flood, a hurricane, a storm or a fire, once the emergency has passed you’ll need to hire experienced contractors who can restore your home as quickly as possible.

Before Disaster Strikes – Emergency Preparations:

The American Red Cross and FEMA have detailed resources to tailor to the needs of your family and your geographical region. In general, every household should be equipped for an emergency with the following:

  • Contact information for relatives and your insurance company that you can grab if you need to evacuate.
  • An emergency plan for a quick exit, and a known place to meet in an emergency.
  • A three-day supply of food and bottled water, plus a first-aid kit, a flashlight and batteries if you need to shelter in place.
  • Know how to shut off your water, electricity and gas.

After the Disaster – Restoration Assistance:

Finding the right contractor can be challenging even when you’re not in a rush for repairs. Both The Home Depot and Porch have services that help you find a local contractor and the products needed to restore your home.

Porch, which focuses on assisting customers at every stage of the "home journey" – including moving in, installations, assembly, repairs and ongoing maintenance – facilitated more than two million home-related projects in 2017, says Ben Jenkins, vice president of growth for Porch.

"With more than 300,000 active professionals across the U.S, Porch has access to pros who get the job done: we have developed our own network with Porch Services or recommend someone from the Porch Pro network to get the work completed," says Jenkins.

Consumers provide a few details about their project on the Porch site to get matched with a contractor. The "Your Home Assistant" chat channel provides additional resources and help.

"Porch responds to requests as quickly as possible – we match home services professionals that seem like the best fit based on a variety of variables including location, type of service, etc. so we’re able to help you find a pro for your job in a timely manner," says Jenkins.

You may not always know exactly the service you need to restore your home, particularly after an emergency, so it can be useful to consult experts through The Home Depot and Porch or similar services to determine the type of help you need.

"We offer a single destination for homeowners to get quotes, read reviews and learn about the type of help they may need," says Jenkins. "We also want homeowners to know what they need before they bring someone out to their home, so we built Ask a Pro to help put them in touch with someone who can answer their basic questions even before someone can get to their house."

Consumer protection for restoration projects

Customers don’t pay a fee to use either the Home Depot or the Porch network to find a contractor.

Porch’s contractors have been vetted with a background check and are licensed and insured. Projects coordinated through Porch include a "Porch Guarantee" of up to $1,000 against losses from deposits on work that was never started or not completed. In addition, Porch attempts to work with homeowners and contractors to resolve any issues or refund the customer up to the original cost of the job, depending on the circumstances.

The Home Depot’s network of local contractors are licensed and insured. The company provides a one-year service guarantee with at least a one-year warranty on labor. In addition, The Home Depot offers flexible financing arrangements to make it easier to start your repairs immediately.

While it’s best to hope that you never experience a burst pipe, a fire or a natural disaster, emergency preparation in advance as well as an outline of where and how you’ll get help afterwards can provide peace of mind for every homeowner.