Five Things You Can Do to Minimize Flood Damage

By on July 6, 2018

Every day in the United States, 14,000 people will have a water damage emergency either at home or at work. Almost every basement in the country–98%–will experience water damage at some point in its lifetime, and flooding repair claims cost insurance companies $2.5 billion every year. The average cost of a water damage insurance claim is close to $7,000! In fact, floods are a quite common natural disaster and the most widespread nationally after wildfires. When a sitting President declares a natural disaster, 90% of the time there is flooding involved.

There’s no doubt that water damage after home flooding is common and expensive to fix. The question for most people is, what can be done to minimize the damage? Assuming you’re doing everything you should to avoid flooding in the first place, here are eight things to do to minimize the consequences of flooding and make your flooding repair renovation as easy as possible.

  1. Invest in flooding insurance, whether you think you need it or not. If you live in a high-risk area, your mortgage lender almost certainly already requires you to carry flood insurance against a flooding repair claim. If you’re not in such a zone, the choice is up to you. Just know that flooding repair can be very expensive, and your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover it. You should also know that about 20% of all flood insurance claims come from areas considered moderate to low risk for flooding.
  2. After a flood, protect yourself and take pictures. If a flood was so bad that you had to leave your home, the first step when you return is to turn off all power. You don’t want to be standing in water when the power comes back on. If you go in the water, remember it could contain chemicals and sewage, so wear protective gear and never eat any food that came in contact with flood water. Take plenty of pictures for your insurance company before you do any flood repair of any kind. Otherwise, you risk a potential decrease in coverage.
  3. Call the insurers and determine your status. As soon as possible, call the insurance company. Explain to them the state of things and send pictures, and tell them what flooding repair or home repair you’re planning to do. Follow their directions to ensure full coverage. You’ll also want to find out if you’re in a declared disaster zone, since this will give you access to more services and financial assistance for flooding repair.
  4. Remove the water and stop the mold. Mold can start growing in a moist area in as little as 24 hours, so once the insurer says you can remove the water, get a sump pump and get it out of there. Open doors and windows, if possible, to get fresh air circulating. Remove everything that got wet as soon as you can, and if it was wet for less than 48 hours, it might be possible to salvage. Let your insurance company know if you’re removing anything to attempt to salvage it, and take pictures of all items. Be aware that large pieces of furniture are sometimes impossible to get dry and will often just have to be thrown out.

    To stop mold, clean surfaces with pine oil and a 10% bleach solution. Photograph the height of the damage on your walls and then poke holes at the level of the floor to allow trapped water to escape. Call some general contractors or home repair specialists to assess your next steps.

  5. Protect your home. The insurance company will consider you responsible to protect your home from more damage to the best of your ability. This means tarps, boards on windows, or whatever you can do. Take pictures of what you’ve done. If you can continue to live there, be cautious. If you can’t, find out from your insurer what they can do to help you with temporary housing.

Follow these steps to minimize flood damage as well as ensure your safety and full coverage from your insurance company.

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