Derechos, characterized by their long-lived, straight-line winds, can have a devastating impact on properties across a large geographical region.
Given the sheer scale of these storm systems, understanding what type of damage a derecho can inflict and how to assess it accurately can be crucial for recovery and insurance purposes.
Types of Derecho Property Damage
The destructive potential of derechos primarily comes from the wind, which can exceed 100 mph. This high-velocity wind can cause a myriad of damages:
Structural Damage: The straight-line winds can inflict significant damage on structures. This includes roof damage, windows, and siding on homes and commercial properties. In some cases, winds may be strong enough to cause complete structural failure of weaker buildings.
Tree Damage: Derechos can down numerous trees and branches in their path, which can subsequently fall onto homes, vehicles, and other structures, causing further damage. In some cases, root systems may be uplifted, damaging underground utilities and causing structural issues with nearby buildings.
Power Lines and Infrastructure: The falling trees and high winds can lead to downed power lines, causing power outages and potentially damaging nearby properties. Infrastructure like gas lines and plumbing can also be affected, leading to potential utility disruptions or hazards.
Vehicle Damage: Cars, boats, RVs, and other vehicles can be significantly damaged by falling debris or the intense winds of a derecho.
Agricultural Losses: For farming communities, a derecho can wreak havoc on crops and livestock facilities, causing severe economic loss.
Assessing Derecho Property Damage
The aftermath of a derecho can be overwhelming, but it's essential to take prompt and accurate stock of the damage for insurance purposes and to aid in recovery efforts.
Safety First: Ensure that it is safe to return to the property. Beware of downed power lines, gas leaks, or unstable structures.
Document the Damage: Take comprehensive photos and videos of all the damage from different angles. This includes both exterior and interior damages.
Keep Track of Repairs: If you need immediate repairs to prevent further damage, such as covering a broken window or tarping a hole in the roof, please keep a detailed record of these expenses.
Professional Assessment: Depending on the extent of the damage, it might be necessary to have a professional assessor or structural engineer evaluate the property.
Understanding the potential extent of damage from a derecho and how to accurately assess it can help streamline the recovery process.
Sill has published additional resources that can help property owners understand their rights when filing an insurance claim.
Check out our insurance claim survival guide for advice on the insurance claim process.
If your property is damaged by a derecho, it is a good idea to contact a public adjuster to ensure your claim is handled correctly. Preparation and knowledge are vital to recovering after these major weather events.
Working with a public adjuster throughout your claim is your best opportunity for a more successful outcome. Our team of experts at Sill Public Adjusters has more advice on handling a derecho claim.
Sill Public Adjusters are available 24/7 by calling 844.650.7455.