Make Sure It Is Safe to Go Back.
Some floods have more than one crest or peak. Even though the water looks like it’s going down, it may rise again and trap you. Stay tuned to your radio or TV to find out if and when you can go back home. If you are not sure whether you can return, contact your local emergency manager. Each year about 150 people die because of floods. Many of those fatalities are due to electrocution or other accidents that occur after the floodwaters have gone down. Have someone with you ask you to check your home and do repairs. The outfit for the task requires sturdy shoes and gloves.
Before you try to clean up and repair everything, you need to assess your damage and develop a recovery plan. An organized approach will make the best use of your time and money. If your structure is substantially damaged, you need to ask yourself if you should rebuild at all—it may be smarter, safer, and cheaper to relocate. If you do restore, your recovery plan should include the floodproofing measures that can be incorporated with repairs and can save you thousands of dollars in the future.
Call Your Insurance Agent You need to tell your agent about the damage to your home and contents so that your agent can file a claim. The sooner you can talk to your agent, the sooner your application will be recorded, and an adjuster will be assigned to review your damage. How much of your loss is covered will depend on your policy. But even if you don’t have full coverage, your agent may be able to give you advice about where to get help with cleanup and repairs.
Your property insurance will fall into one of three categories:
1. Homeowner’s insurance usually covers losses caused by wind, storm, or broken water pipes, but not surface flooding. Some homeowner’s policies may cover basement flooding caused by sewer backup or sump pump failure.
2. Flood insurance covers most losses caused by surface flood water.
3. Wind and hail insurance covers losses in coastal areas from the winds of a hurricane. In coastal areas, homeowner’s insurance often does not cover damage from wind. Read your insurance policies so that you will know what is included and what is not. If your insurance covers the damages, your agent will tell you when you can expect an adjuster to contact you. The adjuster will determine the costs to repair the damage to your home and your belongings. The adjuster will then submit those costs to the insurance company for
final approval. Your agent will also tell you what to throw away and what to set aside for the adjuster to review. Find out if your insurance covers living expenses while your home is being repaired. (Flood insurance does not cover that cost.)
Start listing the damage List the damage and take pictures or videos as you clean up so you will have a complete and thorough record. Good records are needed for insurance claims, applications for disaster assistance, and income tax deductions. Some items that are health hazards, such as rotting food and debris, should be thrown away.