How to act within the first 24 hours in case your house got flooded?
First and foremost, after the water from the flooding in your home subsides, do call your insurance agent, record every single detail and start the clean-up process safely.
There is really no difference whether the flooding at your house has been caused by some downpour showers, damage to the water system or underground or ground water, the best ways to act within the first 24 hours after the flooding, when the water starts to subside by itself, are nearly the same. Still, calling your insurance agent is the first thing to do, if your house is insured, that is. Only in such a way, could you receive financial help for recovering your home and receiving the best possible outcome with the insurance company on your side.
Secondly, make sure you avoid any additional risk-taking activity. In case, you needed to be evacuated out of your home during the flooding, make sure it is safe enough to return back home together with all your family members. One of the things you could do is simply watch or read the weather forecast for the upcoming days so that to check if some downpour is expected; in case the cause of the flooding was natural phenomenon, that is.
Thirdly, upon entering the house, or even before that, when you get close to your home, do take a look for any structural damages to the building itself so that to know whether it is really safe to enter inside. What to look for? – any cracked or loosened foundation elements, cracks on the walls, holes that weren’t there before, warping, to name but a few. In case you suspect any serious damage to the building you need to immediately contact some utility company because there could be some serious damage to the sewer, electric, gas or water lines.
What’s more, once you enter into your home again make sure have a working flashlight with you and that all the water supply is turned off, as well as the electrical sources – even if the electricity isn’t operational, still turn off the main fuse connection – that is exactly why you need the flashlight in the first place, right? After all, by switching everything off you will eliminate the risk of mixing standing water and electricity, which is dangerous, to say the least.
Of course, you can always download some flashlight application on your phone; hence you need the battery on your mobile to be full at all times as you will need it to take pictures too. Not selfies, of course, in the ruined house, if that is what you thought, no! Before you start removing the standing water and doing any repair works you definitely to take pictures of the damaged area for insurance purposes, not for uploading the to Facebook or Twitter, right! Some video clips are also an option as they will also stand as some evidence of the damages for the insurance company to evaluate. Make sure you store the pictures and clips digitally and store several copies in different places, best off – somewhere on the net, not on a device, since it could be ruined any time by water or whatever. Don’t forget the part with the pictures and video clips; otherwise you run the risk or decreasing your insurance coverage, which at that point is truly essential for recovering the damages caused to your home by the flooding water.
Additionally, don’t forget to take care of your family members’ health as well as of your own. Protect everybody from contaminated water by sewage or household chemicals even if you consider the standing water to be clean. Wear hip or waist-high waterproof boots; together with rubber gloves to remove any damaged pieces of furniture or other belongings. Never eat any of the food that has survived the flooding no matter how well the package is sealed; besides boil water that you use for drinking or actually all household chores until the authorities declare the water supply to your area safe.
What’s best is to have a always-ready emergency bag where you store money, documents and contact numbers, one of which should be of your insurance company representative. Don’t worry, though, if the agent doesn’t pick up the phone immediately or return your calls, as it may be the case that the whole community is affected by the flooding and they are pretty busy; in such a case, do contact the insurance headquarters so that to make sure your claim is handled right away! Still be aware of the company’s procedures or just ask over the phone so that to know for sure whether you should wait for a representative to inspect the property, this is the case most often, before starting with any repair works. It’s best if you document the damage itself together with the conversations connected to it at just about any stage of the whole process. Still you need to be patient, since the whole recovery process could take from one week for small clean-up and repairs up to six months for extensive repairs that need to be covered by the insurance contractor.
Last but not least, you’d better find out whether you are in a disaster area or not. If your region is officially declared by authorities to be a disaster area, you, as a property owner, have access to some community resources such as public service so that to protect and remediate your particular area. Besides you could be subject to financial help from the government as well, you just need to be informed about this; your insurance company will probably know much more about this.
Still, when talking of this and after everything that you’ve read, if your home property is still not insured, it’s best to think of getting some stable insurance policy since a person never knows; after all this is your family home we are talking about and it needs to be well-protected.