As we plunge deeper into the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, Louisiana property owners may find themselves forced to deal with storm damage. Winds, rain, hail and flooding can cause extensive damage and disrupt your business. Recovering quickly can help you get your business back on track.

How can you recover quickly? You can take steps to minimize the potential damage, you can make sure you have the right insurance, and you can make sure you take the right steps after a storm hits your property.

Stay safe

After a storm, your property may be full of broken glass, exposed nails, torn power lines and ruptured gas lines. It’s critical that you take safety precautions as you survey the damage. Contact the police and utility company, and make sure to use a flashlight rather than carry an open flame.

Record the damage

Take pictures or video as you check for broken doors and windows, holes in the roof, missing shingles, cracks and flooding. Remember to check on any satellite dishes, antennae or outdoor appliances like air conditioners.

Separate damaged items from undamaged property

The Louisiana Department of Insurance recommends you do not throw away your damaged items before the insurance company sends an adjuster. If the adjuster can see the damaged items, you can file a better and more complete inventory.

Prevent extra damage

If your property has suffered damage to its roof, doors or windows, it may be more vulnerable to future damage. You may need to patch or board things up so that the damage doesn’t get worse before it gets repaired.

Consider hiring a public insurance adjuster

Public insurance adjusters can be expensive, but they can also help you file your claim for the full extent of your damages. As Forbes noted in the wake of Hurricane Irma, licensed public insurance adjusters know what to look for and how to speak your insurance company’s reporting language.

Contact your insurance company

You want to contact your insurance company as soon as is reasonable, and if you have water damage that could be from either wind-related sources or from flooding, you’ll want to contact both insurers. Make sure the insurance company knows where to reach you, especially if the storm displaced you.

Get back up and running

Knowing the steps to take after a storm won’t make the damage hurt any less, but it may help you get back up and running. Filing early can be key to a quick recovery, but making sure your insurance processes your claim correctly may be more important in the long-term. How you choose to balance both interests as you move through the claims process could be among the most important business decisions you’ll ever make.