One of the main causes for floods are tropical storms, hurricanes and coastal flooding. These are a big concern for South Florida residents because we have an entire season dedicated to these storms. With hurricane season upon us, preparation is key before a storm hits. Not only is it important to make sure your home and belongings are ready to undergo potential flooding, but making sure you are covered is vital if you experience any losses.
Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover water damage caused by floods. This means additional insurance, specific to floods, will be needed to ensure your home and property is covered. Although you may have flood damage coverage, insurance companies are very good at finding loopholes and denying your claim. On the other hand, if approved, they tend to not give the compensation you deserve. This is why many people hire public adjusters to help fight for their claims, and make sure they are paid fairly.
How to Prepare for a Flood
Many different areas are more prone to floods than others, like Florida and Texas. Although coastal states are in flood zone areas, inland states are not in the clear. Flooding can occur here as well. When you know there are potential hurricanes or tropical storms coming, it is crucial to know how to prepare.
First off, you need to make sure your home is covered. Either within your homeowners insurance policy, or with a specific flood insurance policy you purchased. Purchasing a new policy needs to be done with some advancement before the storm hits. This is because it can take up to 30 days for the policy to go into effect.
The next step is to come up with a plan for your family and pets in case a flood occurs. Discussing, and making sure younger children are knowledgeable of floods can lower the anxiety and fear if/when a flood happens. Come up with evacuation routes, shelter plans and flood response systems and practice these before a storm hits. Gathering supplies like non-perishables, water, cleaning supplies and storing them in a safe place will allow for less stress when a disaster hits.
Another great way to prepare your belongings in the event of a flood is keeping your important documents in waterproof containers and in a safe place. Move your valuables to higher levels of your home and document where everything has been moved. It is also a great idea to declutter any drains and gutters to help with water flow from rain and prevent blockage. Always be ready to evacuate if necessary, as well as knowing where your nearest emergency shelter is.
What to Do During a Flood
If you and your family are at home during a storm when flooding begins, your first priority is to keep you and your loved ones safe. A battery operated radio is ideal so that you can hear local authorities and stay up to date. In some cases, it is advised by local authorities to turn off the power and water mains. Floodwater can be contaminated, so avoiding contact at all costs is recommended. If any food or other consumable liquids come in contact with floodwater, dispose of it.
Avoid using any gas or electrical appliances that have been flooded. If possible, boil any tap water before consumption. If unable to evacuate your home, and water is rapidly moving in, move to a higher level (avoid attacks), and only if necessary move to the roof and wait for a rescue team. In the event you are in your vehicle and the water level is too high or begins entering your vehicle, move to the roof until rescue comes.
Always avoid walking, swimming or driving through flood waters. This water is more than likely contaminated from swage or has dangerous insects or animals hidden under the murky liquid.
What to Do After Flood Damage Occurs
After the storm never return back to your home until authorities say it is safe to do so. Following a flood, try to avoid driving except in a case of emergency due to debris and other dangerous factors. If you decide to begin cleaning up around your home, wear appropriate protective gloves, boots and clothing to prevent injury. Make sure you and your family are on high alert for dangerous animals or insects who may have found their way into your home to escape the flood.
It is recommended to avoid walking around outside following the flood, because underground or downed power lines can electrically charge the water. When trying to salvage items from your home, dispose of anything that can not be thoroughly disinfected. This can include mattresses, carpets, children’s toys and cosmetics. Any food, beverages or medications that were exposed to flood water should be exposed of. If you are questioning whether to keep something, throw it away. Objects can always be replaced, but contaminating you or your loved ones can not.
When to File Your Claim
Whenever there is some sort of natural disaster that occurs, whether a flood, hurricane or fire, always document the damages and file an insurance claim right away. After filing your claim, an insurance adjuster will come out and assess the damages to your property. The claim process then begins and can take a long time for them to either deny your claim, or come up with a number they believe is fair to cover your losses.
More often than not, the number is extremely low and unfair. This is why you hire a public adjuster to help fight for your compensation. If you are in the South Florida or The Woodlands, Texas area contact Exodus Public Adjuster to help you fight for your claim. At Exodus, they know all about hurricanes and the damages that follow these devastating storms. They know how to fight for these specific claims and will support you through the entire process to ensure your property is properly assessed, documented, investigated and paid fairly.