The aftermath of a flood can be overwhelming and heart-wrenching. It brings with it not only the need to repair physical damage but also to restore a sense of normalcy.
Knowing where to start is often the first step in moving toward restoration. In this article, we’ll provide some helpful tips to help you begin making progress in this area.
Getting an Initial Damage Assessment
The first step is to get a feel for how much damage has been done. This can be tough, specifically at a time when your emotions are running high. However, do your best to focus on the task at hand.
Floodwater is often filled with potential contaminants that can cause additional damage to your home beyond the simple presence of water. Take time to evaluate the extent of the damage so that you have a broad understanding of what lies ahead (in terms of the necessary repairs, estimated costs, and assistance needed).
You’ll want to examine your home thoroughly from the foundation all the way up to the roof. Pay especially close attention to structural elements, such as floors, joists, walls, and ceiling structures. If there are any signs of instability, this will need to be dealt with as soon as possible.
Depending on how severe the flooding was, you might want to call up a professional for an evaluation. There are trained professionals who actually specialize in identifying signs of damage that the average homeowner might not notice right away.
“We find that the primary concern for a lot of homeowners is simply removing the water,” Ryan Kelly of CWF Restoration explains “And while that is important, it goes a lot deeper than this. Once the water is gone, we have to think about other factors like mold, mildew, and the presence of bacteria that could be harmful to people and pets. By getting a free estimate, you’ll know if it’s something you can DIY, or if you need to hire a pro.”
Without a professional evaluation, homeowners might assume they’re in the clear once the house is dried out. But this is why it’s critically important to be surrounded by the right team.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
Not all homeowners insurance policies cover flood damage; often, flood insurance is a separate policy. Familiarize yourself with your flood insurance policy's terms, conditions, and coverages. This includes recognizing the difference between building property coverage and personal property coverage. The items covered under each type of coverage are different. (So are the limits.)
Get in touch with your insurance company ASAP to report the damage. Give them as much information as you can about the damage, how the incident occurred, and other information you uncovered during your assessment.
As you have conversations and correspondence with your insurance company, be sure to save any and all information. This includes all receipts related to flood damage, repairs, temporary lodging and meals, etc.
The key to maximizing your insurance payout is detailed information and accurate reporting. Overlooking critical information could compromise your results.
Ensuring Safety in Your Home
Flooding creates a variety of dangers inside your home. For example, electrical systems can pose a risk of shock or fire if they come into contact with water. Then there’s the structural damage to floors, walls, and ceilings. (And we already touched on the contaminated water that can carry harmful toxins and bacteria and leave deposits all over your personal belongings.)
When inspecting your home, it’s important to stay safe. In fact, we don’t even recommend doing this on your own. A professional restoration company understands how to navigate these conditions and has the proper protective gear to stay safe. It’s better to let them handle everything.
Putting Future Safeguards in Place
Several home modifications can help protect your home from future floods. Consider raising electrical system components, HVAC equipment, and appliances to higher levels in your home. If flooding is a regular occurrence in your area, you might want to consider more extensive measures like installing flood vents, using flood-resistant building materials, or even raising your home on piers or columns. Waterproofing basements, installing sump pumps, and improving your property's drainage system can also help mitigate the risks.
But, at the end of the day, it’s all about your family’s safety. Having a well-stocked emergency kit ready with essentials like food, water, medical supplies, and important documents is key. It’s also wise to have an evacuation plan that all of your family members are aware of.