Every homeowner dreads waking up to damages after a bad storm — but preparation is, as always, the key to success. If disaster strikes your home, know how to safely survey the damage and take the steps you need to get your repairs fixed as soon as possible. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to dealing with potential storm damage to your roof.

  1. Check inside for leaks.

    Start by assessing the inside of your home, particularly in the attic. Look for any water leaks or any visible rays of light shining through the ceiling where it shouldn’t be. You want to protect your home from any potential interior damages, too.

  2. Check the ground.

    Look around your yard for any signs of storm damage, including broken tiles or shingles that might have fallen off as a result of wind or hail damage.

  3. Check the gutters.

    Next, it’s time to take a look at parts of your house itself. The gutters are an easy place to identify any dents or cracks, which should give you an idea of how badly the roof systems themselves got hit. Shingles and debris may also accumulate in the gutters.

  4. File an insurance claim.

    If you notice damages, talk with your insurance company about filing a claim as soon as possible. If you’re able, also document any storm damages. A quick filing can help ease the costs of roof repairs and get your house back in shape sooner.

  5. Find a good roofing company.

    Don’t be tempted to try to walk out on your roof by yourself if you suspect storm damage. Find an experienced roofing contractor to survey the area for you. Filing an insurance claim before you hire a roofer will give you a better sense of how much you can spend on repairs. Bear in mind that most roofers charge for their work in squares or every 10×10 foot patch of roof. The average-sized roof has between 22 and 26 squares, which will cost between $1,000 and $4,000 to fully replace and between $2,000 to $8,500 to have installed professionally. Be sure to know what your insurance will cover before you accept an estimate from a roofing company.

Dealing with storm damages to your home doesn’t need to be stressful. Have a plan at the ready to assess the situation and get the help you need to keep your home safe and secure.