Flood & Water Damage
Jack Buisson, owner of ProMan HandyMan, LLC has over 20 years of insurance reconstruction experience involving a wide range of damages from FLOOD, FIRE, STORM, LIGHTENING and others. As a past LA property adjuster and formerly having held his FEMA certification, he fully understands the ins and outs of flood / water damage, additionally Jack is well versed in dealing with insurance companies in our area. We understand how stressful it can be dealing with water damaged property, so if you need assistance in this area please consider calling ProMan HandyMan, LLC. Thank You!
What is "flood damage"?
Generally, damage caused by rising water which affects two or more adjacent properties.
What should my first steps be if I received flood / water damage?
Whether a flood is caused by ground water, falling water, or home water system malfunction, there are some best practices you should employ within the first 24 hours after the flood to ensure the safety of your home and family and give you the best outcome possible with your insurance company.
1. Avoid additional risks - If the flood was serious enough for you to leave your home, be sure you stay safe upon your return. The Federal Emergency Management Agency warns that you should check for any visible structural damage, such as warping, loosened or cracked foundation elements, cracks, and holes before entering the home and contact utility companies if you suspect damage to water, gas, electric, and sewer lines. In addition, it’s important to have a working flashlight and turn off all water and electrical sources within the home. Even if the power isn’t operational, it’s a good idea to go to your fuse box and turn off the main, plus all of the individual fuse connections. That way, if the power is reactivated, you’re not at risk for mixing standing water and electricity.
2. Take pictures - Before you remove any water or make any repairs, fully document the damage for your insurer by taking photos or video. Digital versions are best because they can be stored electronically and easily copied. If you start removing water or making repairs before you photograph the damage, you could potentially decrease the extent of your coverage.
3. Protect your health - Even if the water in your home is clear, it could be contaminated by sewage or household chemicals. Wearing waders, hip- or waist-high waterproof boots, in addition, wear rubber gloves to remove water-damaged possessions and to avoid contaminants. Be sure to throw out any food that may have come into contact with flood waters. FEMA recommends boiling water until authorities declare the water supply is safe.
4. Call your insurance company - Since you should notify your insurer soon as possible after the flood, it’s a good idea to keep your insurance company and local agent’s phone number in your always-ready emergency bag. (Note that the NFIP works through private insurance companies, so you contact your insurer just as you would for any other type of claim). In cases where a flood has affected a region or community, your agent may be busy handling his or her own flood issues. In that case, contact the insurance company’s headquarters. Since groundwater flood damage typically isn’t covered by conventional homeowner's insurance policies, you’ll need to work with your insurer to determine the cause of the flood and the extent of your coverage. Advise your insurance representative of the state of your home and any repairs you intend to do immediately. Be sure to follow the insurance company’s direction about whether or not to wait for an adjuster to inspect the property before making repairs. Document the damage and conversations at every stage of the process.
5. Remove water - Once you get the OK from your insurer to remove the water, use a sump pump, available from most hardware or home supply stores, and a wet vac. Open doors and windows to allow fresh air to circulate so long as that won’t allow in more water.
6.Mitigate mold damage - Mold can develop within 24 to 48 hours of a flood, says Ashley Small of FEMA, so remove wet contents, including carpeting and bedding, as soon as possible. If an item has been wet for less than 48 hours, it may be salvageable. However, you’ll need to decide whether it holds enough monetary or sentimental value to try to do so. And notify your insurance company before removing items to ensure that you’re not affecting coverage. Always photograph flood-soaked items as well as take photographs before removing wet wallboards and baseboards because insurers will want to see the height of any water damage to walls.
7. Secure the property - As the homeowner, it’s your responsibility to secure the property so that no additional damage occurs. Put boards over broken windows and secure a tarp as protection if the roof has been damaged. Again, take photographs to prove to the insurance company that you have done everything possible to protect your home against further damage.If the home is habitable, take precautions to keep yourself and your family safe from injury. Use flashlights to move around dark rooms, for example. If the home isn’t habitable, don’t try to stay there. Move to a shelter or alternate location. Consult your insurer to find out what provisions the company will make for temporary housing while your home is being repaired.