The First Steps Homeowners Need to Take After a Flood
It’s flood season across North America and many municipalities are watching water levels with baited breath. There is an increased risk of river flooding, flash flooding, coastal flooding, or groundwater flooding throughout the spring, and water damage caused by these types of floods can be very expensive to repair.
Major floods often require mass evacuation orders. You can be left in limbo for days wondering about the extent of the damage to your home. There are best practices you can use to reduce the expenses and ensure your own safety once the flood waters recede and you are allowed to return to your home.
#1 Alert Your Insurance Company
To ensure you get the best possible results with your insurance company, you should let them know that your home has damaged by flood waters immediately. The insurance company will begin your claims process and send an insurance adjuster to evaluate structural damage and lost personal property. Once you have informed your insurance company you should begin to document the damage for your own records.
#2 Inspect for Structural Damage
Before re-entering your home, you can avoid additional risks or injury by inspecting your home for structural damage. If flood waters reached heights prompting an evacuation order, the damage to your home can be severe and expensive.
Common problems caused by water damage include:
- Warped or cracked foundations
- Holes or cracks in the floor
- Damage to sewer, gas, power, and water lines
Once you have identified that it is safe for you to enter, go to the fuse box and verify that the main power has been turned off, as well as all fuse connections, this will prevent electricity from meeting standing water.
#3 Document the Damage
Document the damage before you begin any efforts to clean up or repair the damage. Take pictures and videos to submit to your insurer or else you may negatively affect the extent of your insurance coverage. While you may remove salvageable items from your home to prevent further damage, make detailed records of everything you remove. Do not remove any items that are damaged to the point that they could not be salvaged or repaired. The insurance adjuster will evaluate all lost personal belongings in addition to the structural damage.
As you document the damage, pay close attention to wet drywall and damaged flooring or baseboards, as well as damage to furniture, carpeting, clothing, and any other personal belongings or valuables.
If you’re concerned about documenting the damage, you can learn more at Virani Law about why the insurance adjuster will need documentation. They are a law firm that helps clients with insurance claims and negotiating with insurance companies after flood damage. They have some useful resources to consider with regard to filing an insurance claim and recovering from a flood.
It can be tempting to act fast when you first return home after a flood. Mold and mildew can grow quickly in damp conditions, but you must alert your insurance company, document damage thoroughly, and ensure that your home is safe for re-entry before you begin cleaning or removing personal contents.