Floods are one of the most common and destructive natural disasters that face homeowners. Those in low-risk flood areas account for 20% of all flood insurance claims.
Those that live in high flood risk areas have better than a 1 in 4 chance of experiencing a flood during a 30-year period. With flooding being so common what to do after a flood is not something many of us have thought about.
There are a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t tackle a project like this on your own. Cleaning up after a flood can be dangerous.
If you are the victim of a flood there are steps you need to take. These steps will help protect you and make it easier to successfully file an insurance claim.
What to Do After a Flood
While a flood is devastating to your home and mental health, do not let this disaster imperil your safety. There are several steps you should take after a flood.
Here is a list of seven steps to follow after a flood:
1. Make Sure Your Home Is Safe to Enter
If the flood was caused by a natural disaster you will be kept away until authorities have deemed it safe to return. This only accounts for the flood area and homes that are demolished. If your home is still standing, make sure you check it over.
Look for obvious signs of structural issues. Don’t enter the home if walls are buckling or the ceiling is collapsing.
Make sure that the power to your home is turned off. Do not attempt to turn it off yourself.
Making sure that your home is safe is the first and most important thing you can do. You don’t want to get injured in floodwater. Flood water is usually contaminated with raw sewage and other nasty things.
2. Record Everything the Flood Did
Make sure that you document what happened to your home. Include videos and pictures whenever possible.
The more you can document the damage done the better. Documentation will make your insurance claim go much smoother.
If it is safe to do make sure you get all areas of your house. Do not forget your basement. Sometimes flooding only happens in the basement.
If this is the case, make sure to document the damage to major home appliances. Furnaces and water heaters are most commonly in the basement.
Be careful about taking risks while documenting. There are a lot of dangers to consider after a flood.
Never go into floodwater. Don’t risk your health and safety just to get evidence of the damage done.
3. Protect Important Documents
As soon as you possibly can remove all important documents. These include social security cards and birth certificates.
A lot of documentation can be replaced, but it can be difficult and time-consuming. Some documentation can be far harder or impossible to replace.
If you have any personal documents or heirlooms that you want to save remove them as well. Leaving them in a damp, humid environment can damage them. You don’t want an antique piece of paper exposed to any kind of moisture or water.
A lot of documents won’t survive the flood. Try not to concern yourself with what you lost. Save what you can without putting yourself in any more danger.
4. File Your Insurance Claim Quickly
The amount of time it takes to process a flood claim varies wildly. States have different laws and regulations.
Your claim will not be processed overnight. You can expect to wait at least two weeks. The sooner you make your claim the quicker you will receive the money you need.
5. Drain the Water
As soon as it is safe you should begin to act. Draining standing water should be done in stages.
Try to dry out areas that are saturated. Even small steps can make a big impact on the overall cost of your recovery.
Some insurance companies ask that you take these steps before you file your claim. Doing so may expedite your claim.
6. Dispose of Your Perishables
Throw away any perishable that comes into contact with floodwater. This includes any fresh food. If you have canned food, make sure it is cleaned and sterilized thoroughly.
Medicine that has been exposed to flood water should be discarded. Make sure you throw away any cosmetics that were exposed as well.
Do not forget about your pets and their food. Any pet food not in a sealed can should be immediately removed.
The bags that most dry food is stored in are not going to survive water damage. Even if the water came from a burst pipe get rid of the food.
Moisture will encourage mold to grow on you and your pet’s food.
7. Contact a Professional Cleaning Service
As soon as you can, contact a professional cleaning service. Flood water is extremely dangerous. Drowning is not the only danger from floodwater. Mold and other contaminants are common. Trying to clean your home yourself is not a good idea.
Professional flood cleaning services have specialized tools that they will use. These can make a lot of the work much easier.
Professionals also make sure that the clean up is done right. An estimate of how much it will cost to clean up your home is a good thing to have.
Water damage restoration is a complicated process. Leaving behind any water or moisture can complicate the danger further.
Mold will grow behind walls and under floors. Even a burst pipe in your basement makes the ideal environment for mold to grow.
As Long as You Are Safe Everything Will Be Okay
Water can cause incredible damage to your home. Floods are among the most devastating natural disasters for homeowners.
The work it takes to recover from a flood can seem overwhelming. Seeking professional assistance will give you both peace of mind and make your recovery quicker.
If you have suffered extensive water damage or have been flooded, don’t worry. Knowing what to do after a flood will go a long way in helping.
If you are in the Midlothian, TX area and need help, contact us. Don’t wait around for the damage to get worse and the risks to your health to grow.