What Should I Do Right After A Flood?
Right after a flood occurs is the most critical time in the whole water restoration process. Steps need to be taken right away to avoid incurring more costly damage later on. Additionally, the insurance claims process needs to be started right away.
Flood water damage can be traumatic to confront and deal with – follow these 10 quick steps to ensure that you do not miss anything:
Step 1: Turn Off The Power
Electrical shock or electrocution may result if you enter your flooded home without first turning the power off at the main box or breaker. Some people may forget this important step if the power in their neighborhood is out, but you should take the precaution of turning it off regardless because the power could be restored at any time.
Step 2: Be Cautious
Remember when you return to your home in the wake of a disaster that you need to be careful with the things you usually take for granted. Do not drink the water, do not turn on the lights and do not go into any flooded areas unless you can determine how deep the water is.
Step 3: Protect Yourself
Flood water can contain human sewage, gasoline, diesel, oil and any number of other contaminants. Always wear protective covers like boots, gloves and masks when entering your home – especially if you are coming into contact with wet items or areas.
Be on the lookout for any animals that may have made their way into your home during the flood as well. Depending on where you live, you may be at risk for things like snakes to be hiding in the flood water.
Step 4: Contact Your Insurance Company
It is important to file your insurance claim right away so that you can start the process of getting paid out on your claim. Before you move anything or discard anything, find out what your insurance company will require on your end to file the claim. (Each company will have their own requirements.) They will assign you an insurance adjuster that will be responsible for your case and he/she can answer all of your claims-related questions.
Step 5: Take Pictures
Taking pictures of the damage is critical for insurance purposes and can also speed up the estimates process for any water restoration companies that you contact. Get detailed images of the flooded area and any items that were danged or ruined. Only after taking these pictures should you begin to clean or remove belongings.
Step 6: Make a List
Make a list of everything that was damaged or ruined in the flood for your insurance company and for your own records. Include a description of the item, when it was purchased, the condition it was found in, what has been done with it since (if it was cleaned or discarded) and attach supporting pictures. Anything that your insurance company does not include in the claim will need to be replaced by you at your own cost. Including receipts is very helpful to document the replacement value, where available.
Step 7: Discard Ruined Items
If you are in question as to whether or not something can/should be thrown away, keep it until you can verify with a professional. Once again, be sure that everything is documented with pictures and added to your list before getting rid of anything.
Step 8: File Your “Proof of Loss” Form
The insurance adjuster assigned to you will provide you with a “Proof of Loss” form that is essentially a record of the damage to the best of their knowledge. You will need to take the steps to file this with your insurance company within 60 days. They will then review the form and make a claims decision.
Step 9: Hire A Home Restoration Company
Cleaning up the flood damage is something that should be left to a professional water restoration company to ensure that it will be done right. Find a water repair company that comes well recommended, has a good reputation locally and guarantees their work. This will ensure that you find a company that will be easy to work with and do a thorough job on your water restoration project.
Step 10: Be Prepared for Next Time
In order to avoid flood damage in the future, you can bolster your home’s defenses with things like a sump pump, a water gauge, a water main shut-off, etc. Consult with a flood water professional to determine what makes the most sense for your home.
For a water pump out and more information on cleaning up after a flood, call USA Water and Fire Restoration at 1-800-501-3046 today!
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