Over 76,000 flood insurance claims were paid after Hurricane Harvey and the average payout was $116,000. Moreover, there were 167,000 after Hurricane Katrina with an average payout of $97,500 per loss.
Storm damage is only one cause of flooding, but regardless of the cause, flood damage costs are usually high. This is because there are many things that you will have to do to get your house back in order.
Flood damage can feel like a loss, especially when there is extensive property damage. But there are several steps you will need to take to recover. Read on to find out how you can make the recovery process a little easier.
Damage due to flooding can be frustrating but you need to embrace this feeling or any others that you may be experiencing. Flood damage can be overwhelming and can leave you feeling despondent and stressed. It can:
- Cause a huge mess
- Require lots of cleaning up
- Result in the growth of mold
- Lead to property destruction including valuables
- Involve filing and following up on your insurance claim
- Be time-consuming as you deal with all of the above while still working and living your daily life.
It is normal for you to be affected physically, mentally, or even emotionally. Give yourself time, feel your emotions, breathe, and work towards getting your home to what it was or better. Here’s where you can start.
You can’t control a natural disaster and there’s no way to know about unforeseen events such as a faulty water heater or a burst pipe. However, you can put a few things in place before any of these occur so that dealing with the aftermath is a little easier.
- Ensure you have flood damage coverage
- Ensure important numbers are easily accessible – insurance company, utilities, City services, electrician, plumber
- Know the location of your main water valve and breaker panel
If you receive a flood warning notification due to an approaching weather system, there are also some things you can put in place in addition to those listed above.
You should seal vents to the basement to prevent basement water damage and move your furniture, hazardous materials, and other valuables to higher levels. Also, disconnect your electrical appliances. These may not prevent flood damage, but it’s a start.
9 Things to Do if Your Home Has Flood Damage
Knowing some of the main steps you should take after a flood may help to reduce some of the added pressure you may experience. Here are some things you can do:
1. Ensure Your Property Is Safe Before Entering
You may have to ensure it’s safe to reenter your home after intense flooding. The structure of your home may have been compromised. Buckling floors or walls are an indicator.
The flooding may have also caused your foundation to crack or warp. Don’t enter if you notice any of these tell-tale signs. If you’re not sure, have a professional check it out before you enter.
If you notice damaged gas, water, electrical, or sewer lines, call your utility company.
2. Find the Source of the Water
Once you find it, turn it off. Turning off the main valve to your home can help you identify the source of the water if it isn’t easily seen.
If the water is due to a natural disaster or rainstorm, call the City. Find out if the storm drains are open and cleared out to ensure the water will subside as quickly as possible.
The source may not be evident if it is an appliance with an automatic shut-off valve. If your appliances don’t have a shut-off valve, you should turn them off yourself.
3. Shut off the Electricity
Try not to walk through the water as you access your breaker panel. Turn off the main breaker as well as the individual fuse switches. If you can’t avoid walking through the water to get to your breaker panel, call an electrician.
Remember, even if the power is out in your area, you should still shut off the electricity from your breaker panel.
4. Avoid the Water
As mentioned before, you should avoid going into the water. Not only because water and electricity don’t mix well, but because the water may also be contaminated. Contamination can occur as a result of household chemicals, sewage, garbage or debris.
These contaminants may not always be noticeable, but they can be toxic. If you must go into the water, protect yourself by wearing rain boots or high, waterproof boots. You should also wear rubber gloves when removing items from the water.
Both of these precautions prevent your body from coming into contact with the water. However, avoid touching any part of your bare body, such as your face with your gloves. The water can have bacteria that can be a health hazard.
5. Call Your Insurance Company
The contact number for your insurance company should be easily accessible, especially amid the confusion of a flood. Let them know what has happened. Work with them to find out what exactly will be covered when you make your claim.
You may have to hold off on any repairs until the insurance adjuster sees the damage. If this isn’t possible and you need to have repairs done for safety reasons, inform your insurance company before doing anything.
6. Document Everything
Take photos and/or videos of the damage before removing your belongings. Also, record any structural damage. You will need this as evidence for your insurance claim and these will help them to make an accurate assessment of your damages.
Removing items before taking the photos or videos could affect the amount of flood coverage your insurance company will pay out to you.
Also, write down anything you observe or think may be of importance, including the source of the water. You should document the cleanup process as well.
7. Start the Cleanup Process
Once you have all the damage documented and the ‘all clear’ from your insurance company, you can start cleaning up. Remember to continue documenting throughout the cleanup process.
You should ensure the extraction of all water before cleaning up residue, mud, or dirt. This may take some time, but don’t get despondent. Ask for help. It’s better to get it done, even if it is slowly.
Use hoses to siphon the water or buckets, depending on the amount of water. You can also rent a sump pump or buy one in case of any future incidents. This will help to remove large amounts of water.
Use a wet vac to suck up water from your carpets or floors. Minimal flooding may only require a mop or towel for cleanup. The longer the water stays, the more damage that can occur causing you to spend more to restore your home.
You can even hire a professional cleaning company that will have your house looking new. You should also call an electrician before turning on the power. They will clean, dry, and inspect your breaker box to ensure it is safe to turn it on again.
8. Be Aware of Mold Damage
After extracting the water, you need to be aware of the possibility of mold. Moisture can lead to the growth of mold. Toxic mold is usually an issue that occurs after flooding.
It can have long-lasting effects if it’s not dealt with properly. Thoroughly clean all the surfaces of your home with a heavy-duty detergent and hot water. Kill any lingering bacteria, germs, or fungi by using a 10% bleach solution.
It’s important to assess how much water has spread throughout your property. Water can seep through the walls, floors, and ceiling and gather in unseen pockets. Dispose of any wet building materials properly.
9. Hire Experienced Contractors
You can ensure the removal of all the water by hiring a professional contractor. Do your research and get recommendations so you hire the right company.
Don’t sign anything you don’t understand or that assigns your insurance payment to a third party or directly to the contractor.
Restoring Your Home
You may have concerns about the value of your home after experiencing flood damage, especially if you had plans to sell your home. Fourteen thousand US homeowners experience water damage every day. So you’re not alone.
Some professionals can assist you throughout the restoration process ensuring that your home maintains its value. But if there is still some damage, and you’re ready to sell, sellhousefast.com can help if you’re selling a house with damages. They will inspect your home and give you a reasonable offer.
You don’t have to worry, because it’s that simple.
Life After A Flood
A flood not only causes extensive flood damage to your home but can also cause undue stress as you navigate all the steps to get your home back to normal. There is a lot of help available.
Take one day at a time and follow the steps recommended. This will help you to make your home your haven once again. We can help you through this process, as well as provide resources on anything related to your home.
Check out our Ideas or Projects tab then call us to learn more.