What to do after a flood in your house – a step by step guide

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What to do after a flood in your house – a step by step guide

Sunita Vellapally Sunita Vellapally
Exterior Design and Facade Ideas:  Houses by IDEARCH
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If you’re wondering what to do after a flood in your house, don’t panic, you’re not alone! Water flooding can occur either as a result of a natural disaster or due to a burst pipe. While it can be a traumatic experience, before your start repairing your flooded home, it’s important to follow a systematic plan to ensure your family’s safety and that no further damage occurs before your insurer comes by to inspect.

By following our guide on what to do after a flood occurs, you can ensure that you are aware of the best practices to follow both immediately after the flood as well as in the aftermath until the insurance company inspector can pay a visit to assess the damages.

Bear in mind that flash floods or other types of nature-related flooding might require specific insurance to protect against damages compared to regular home insurance that covers burst pipe water damage. When you are building or renovating your house, it’s best to ask your architect for precautionary features that can be included to prevent water from flooding your house, especially if you live in a coastal area or near a lake, dam or any other large water body.

In this ideabook, we present a step by step approach to tackling house repairs due to water damages to minimize spending on flood damage repair costs.

Step 1 to repairing your flooded home: Staying safe and avoiding further damages

Exterior Design and Facade Ideas:  Houses by IDEARCH
IDEARCH

Exterior Design and Facade Ideas

IDEARCH

It’s quite natural to be worried about the extent of the damage and to try to save one’s belongings that are trapped inside the house. However, before doing so, it’s essential to ensure that the premises are safe for your return.

  • When the house is flooded with water, there’s a risk of damage to the electrical wiring, which can cause an electric shock if anything is switched on accidentally. Therefore, the first step when repairing your flooded home is to switch off the power circuits in your electric panel. Failure to do so can even spark a fire that causes further damages to your property.
  • The floors can get quite slippery due to water logging, so be cautious when you are walking through the house to assess the damage.
  • Health precautions after floods should be a priority as the water logging inside the house makes it a breeding ground for bacteria and microbes. The aftermath of floods is usually accompanied by the outbreak of contagious diseases, so before you step into the house for inspection, wear a mask, gloves and other protective gear to take precautions against accidentally touching or breathing in harmful bacteria.
  • The floods can weaken the structure of the house even if it looks fine from the outside, so before you enter, it’s best to view the house exteriors to check if there are any signs of roof damage, wall collapses or other things that point to the interiors being unsafe.

Step 2: Retrieving important documents

Once you’ve ascertained that the house is safe to enter, the next logical step in what to do after a flood in your house is to save important documents such as the house title deed, personal identification documents such as passports and voter’s identity cards, home insurance policy and other valuable documents.

One of the best things to do when you are taking precautions on what to do before a flood is to keep these documents organized and easily accessible so that in the event of a flood you won’t struggle to locate them.

Bear in mind that while these papers are essential for you to get started on repairing your flooded home, they are not more important than your personal safety and health. You should attempt fetching these documents from the flooded home only after taking the necessary precautions outlined in the first step.

Step 3: Contacting the insurance company

Private Residence:  Bungalows by malvigajjar
malvigajjar

Private Residence

malvigajjar

Before you start exploring house flooding solutions to get started on the repairs, don’t forget that you can get the insurer to pay for the damages, so you don’t have to bear the entire burden of the flood damage repair costs. This will depend on the type of policy that you have taken for the house. While a policy that protects against damages caused by weather-related flooding will attract a higher premium payment, it’s well worth the expense if you face the misfortune of experiencing a cyclone, tsunami or any other natural disaster that can cause flooding.

If it’s burst pipe water damage, then a regular coverage will take care of it.

Step 4: Filing a claim from the insurance company

Temple Bells - Arati and Sundaresh's Residence:  Houses by Sandarbh Design Studio
Sandarbh Design Studio

Temple Bells—Arati and Sundaresh's Residence

Sandarbh Design Studio

Usually, it takes from a few weeks to several months before the insurance company settles your claim. However, you should initiate the process as early as possible. Before you do that, you will need to get a rough idea of the cost of repairing your flooded home. Among the points to look at when assessing flood damage repair costs are:

  • The extent of the water damage
  • The condition of the floor and whether it will need complete or partial removal and replacement.
  • How to dry out the walls after water damage and whether the damp walls will weaken the foundation
  • How much it will cost to replace or repair the damaged electrical wiring and plumbing lines.You should also be aware that you might not get the entire cost of repair reimbursed by the insurance company as they make a distinction between the replacement value and the fair market value of repairs.

Before buying a policy, you should read the fine print to get a better idea of the extent of damages that the insurance company will cover.

Step 5: Keeping records of the condition of the house as proof of the damages

Noida Residence:  Houses by Vijay Kapur Designs
Vijay Kapur Designs

Noida Residence

Vijay Kapur Designs

Sometimes, the state of the house can deteriorate from the time of the initial assessment for the claim to the period when the insurer’s representative visits to inspect the premises. Therefore, one should document everything by photographing the exterior and interiors of the house, taking videos and making notes. The situation can take a turn for the worse if the structure collapses after the initial claim is filed. In such cases, the records should be updated with suitable evidence in the form of photographs, videos, written records, etc. Providing documentation will also make it easier for the claims adjuster to verify the extent of damage when he inspects the property.

Step 6: Getting started on repairing your flooded home

Bungalow Facade:  Houses by malvigajjar
malvigajjar

Bungalow Facade

malvigajjar

The longer the flood waters stay in the house, the more damage it can do to the flooring and the structure. You should try to pump out the water from the house at the earliest using a sump pump if you have one. Alternatively, you can hire an experienced professional to do this. Since it takes some time before the claim adjuster comes by, ensure that you only pay what is essential as you can’t be sure of whether it will be reimbursed. Additionally, save all the receipts as proof of the payments made by you.

When the insurance company representative visits, ensure that you verify his credentials. Be particularly wary of contractors who claim they represent the insurance company but demand a large amount as advance payment. The last thing you want on top of the trauma of suffering through the floods is to lose money to a scammer who claims he will use it for repairing your flooded home.

Did you find these tips useful? Leave a reply in the comments.
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