If you’re not in a high-risk area, you probably won’t spend much time worrying about water damage to your home or property. But the fact is, nearly one-quarter of all flood damage occurs in areas considered at a low to moderate risk for flooding.
Floods are the costliest natural disaster in the U.S. every year. Damage from floods total more than a billion dollars annually.
Families have not only lost their homes, they’ve also suffered devastating financial ruin due to flooding. Many residents mistakenly believed their Florida homeowner’s policy would protect them. However, they soon find out the hard way that the typical homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover flood damage at all. If you do have a flood insurance policy, but you’re not sure how the claim process works, one of our experienced flood damage lawyers can guide you along in order to determine the best course of action.
Tips You Can Use Before and After a Flood
Even if you do not live in an area considered high risk for a flood, the chances are still there. One way to protect your home is to carry a flood insurance policy. If you aren’t residing in a risky area, they are relatively inexpensive. Other ways to prepare is to follow these tips for the American Red Cross.
- Talk with your family about what to do if a flood watch or warning is issued.
- Make sure that you have access to NOAA radio broadcasts:
- Find out if you are in a floodplain, which is considered to be a Special Flood Hazard Area. If so, you are still eligible for flood insurance.
- Find out if local streams or rivers flood quickly.
- Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe-deposit box. You may need quick, easy access to these documents. Take pictures on your phone, and also keep copies of essential documents and files on a flash drive that you can carry with you on your house or car keys.
After a flood, it’s essential to start the cleanup process right away. Once you can do so safely, FEMA recommends:
- Checking for structural damage before re-entering your home, so as to avoid being trapped in a building collapse.
- Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety.
- Turn off the gas. Check for gas leaks.
- Watch your step. The ground and floors are often covered with debris, including broken bottles and nails after a flood occurs. Mod covered floors and stairs that have been covered can be very slippery.
- Call your insurance agent to file a claim and report the damage as soon as possible. Homeowners’ insurance usually covers losses caused by wind, storms, or broken water pipes, but not surface flooding.
- Rescue the most valuable items, but never attempt to salvage belongings at the expense of your safety.
- It’s best to wear long sleeves, sturdy shoes or waterproof boots, and plastic or rubber gloves during cleanup.
- Please wash your hands often with soap and clean water, or use a hand-cleaning gel with alcohol in it.
- Mold can form within 48 hours; you will need to work fast. The goal is to reduce the humidity and temperature around your treasures as you proceed to clean and also dry them.
If you are struggling with a flood damage claim, contact Louis Law Firm today. One of our highly trained flood damage lawyers will listen to your situation and also decide the best way to proceed.