If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, chances are good that you have flood insurance for your property. This is good news if you suffer a flood since there will certainly be damage to your structure and the contents should water find its way in, especially in massive quantities. Not only will you face a lengthy cleaning process, but items will almost certainly have to be replaced and the structure might need extensive repairs, to boot. In the worst case scenario the damage will be too great to repair and you’ll have to rebuild if you want to restore your home to its former state, so to speak. Luckily, insurance can help you with the costs associated with such work. But you’ll still have to go through the process of cleanup and restoration. Here are a few tips to help you through.
The first order of business is to file a report with your insurance provider. Since a flood affects many homes, and some of them are likely insured by the same company as you, filing your claim early could ensure faster remuneration. In this type of situation, claims are generally dealt with on a first come, first served basis, so you’ll want to call as soon as possible following a natural disaster. The next thing you’ll want to do is hire a home inspector to appraise the damages to your property, including the structure and contents of your home. Your insurance provider will probably inform you that they cannot begin processing your claim until they know the extent of damages, so this documentation will help you to get the ball rolling.
Now comes the not so fun part: cleaning up the mess. You can probably do some or all of this on your own, but there are a couple of reasons why you might want to hire professionals for the job. For one thing, if your home is older there might be hazardous materials (like asbestos) that are exposed during the course of flooding. In this case it behooves you to get a hazmat team out for the cleanup. And of course, if structural damages have left your home unstable, it may be too dangerous for anyone besides professionals to enter. And professionals in this scenario refers to building experts that are trained to assess the damage and determine what needs to be torn down and rebuilt for the purposes of safety in your living spaces. They won’t clean, exactly, but they may clear away rubble and debris.
Once you’ve cleaned the home as best you can, it’s time to start the restoration process. There are actually companies out there that specialize in restoring homes following floods, and these professionals can dry out your home, replace damaged components, and virtually leave your structure looking like new by the time they’re done. This is, of course, supposing that your home can be salvaged. Even with a high integrity restoration and remodeling company on your side, you may find that it’s just too expensive to restore your home, and that it’s actually cheaper to demolish it and rebuild. But of course this depends on the extent of the damage, the value of your property, and what you’re insurer is willing to pay.