Like any other region in the country, the west coast experiences its fair share of natural disasters. Although California is known for having drought spells and earthquakes, it’s also prone to natural floods. These floods help keep nature balanced by supporting wildlife and natural habitats and replenishing the soil.
However, floods spilling over into neighborhoods, workplaces, and other common areas can result in great loss. Water damage can devastate homes and businesses, leading to displacement and huge economic loss. After a flood occurs, it can feel like walking into an unfamiliar place.
Seeing your items severely damaged or floating in standing water can be an emotional experience. Perhaps you didn’t know you lived in a flood zone or evacuated thinking the water wouldn’t reach you. But now that your home got flooded, what’s next?
While we understand that situation is heart-wrenching, keep your head up. The road ahead may be long and bumpy, but know that Saferoad Insurance is here every step of the way. That’s why we want to provide a few pointers on what to do after your house has flooded in California. This way, you will know how to navigate through this troubling time.
Before You Enter the House
If you evacuated, you must wait until you’re notified that it’s safe to return. Once it’s safe, you can start documenting the damage, surveying the area, and cleaning the inside and outside of your home. Still, there are a few things to consider before diving in.
When you return, you may want to go straight through the front door—don’t. Instead, you should survey the damage outside your home first. This way, you can inspect for exterior cracks that could risk the structure collapsing.
Water and electricity don’t mix. Be sure to contact your utility provider and an electrician to check for exposed lines or to inspect your main breaker for any damages. It’s best to turn off your water, gas, and electricity before entering your home.
Wear the Right Gear
Living in California, you’re accustomed to wearing leisure wear: shorts, sandals, t-shirts—anything to feel the Cali breeze. However, you should save the relaxed fit for another day. Stagnant water can carry various bacteria, debris, garbage, chemicals, and the unimaginable. Also, mold can grow quickly in these conditions.
Remember to wear rubber boots (or waders), long pants, and water-tight gloves as extra safety precautions.
Take a Moment and Breathe
After ensuring it’s safe to return and you’re wearing the appropriate clothing, take a moment and breathe. Surviving any natural disaster may make you feel uncertain, overwhelmed, and emotional—and that’s normal!
Seeing your home flooded and your belongings damaged will be stressful. Take the time to grieve and process this event before diving into your responsibilities. Taking a moment makes you less likely to skip over any details or make mistakes when filing claims. The journey may be challenging, but you will overcome it.
Now that the stress has subsided, it’s time to document and report your losses and damages to your insurance company. Take videos and pictures of each room to capture evidence when filing a claim. Pay attention to the flooring, walls, appliances, and insured items that have gotten damaged.
While most homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover all water damage, they will cover the damage to your roof and siding. Contact your insurance company to inquire about additional storm coverages, or in more serious situations, contact FEMA for more information.
Meet With an Adjuster
When you file an insurance claim, an adjuster will come out to collect measurements, take photos, and note any significant damage. Upon their arrival, have your policy information and other documents available for them to review. Be prepared to ask questions and request their contact information for further communication.
After a devastating storm, many scammers leap to swindle the vulnerable. Be on the lookout for robocalls stating they’re an insurance agent or a FEMA representative. Some contractors will also ask for large amounts of money upfront for simple repairs. Use your best judgment and always research the company before handing over sensitive information or payments.
Tackle Cleaning Up
It’s time for the hard part: cleaning up the damage. After meeting with an adjuster and reviewing your insurance documents, you can begin cleaning the inside and outside of your home. As stated before, wear protective gear for your health and safety. It would be best to stay alert for displaced wildlife, too.
Even if the water has dried, mold can proliferate in these conditions. We recommend wearing a facial mask and gloves when cleaning up your home.
If your adjuster doesn’t come within the first 24 hours after returning, begin your cleaning process ASAP. Mold can multiply rapidly, which can cause further damage and health issues. Take all the items touched by water outside to dry. This includes wooden furniture, artwork, decorative pieces, and anything worth saving.
Don’t Forget To Check Hidden Spaces
Don’t waste all your hard work; check the small, hidden spaces for standing water, damage, or mold growth. This includes checking the bottom of your kitchen cabinets and island, baseboards, behind doors, and other typically overlooked areas. Double-checking these spaces will decrease the chances of mold issues or preventable damages.
Make Sure To Ventilate and Dry
Besides cleaning and disinfecting your home, ensuring everything is dry is critical. Use high-powered fans to keep your home dry. Open your windows and doors as much as possible and use a dehumidifier to decrease moisture levels. It may take up to four weeks for your home to be completely dry.
Ways To Prepare for Future Incidents
Although stopping a natural disaster is impossible, there are ways to prepare before it hits. To reduce the risks of damage to your home and the items inside, you should consider protecting your home with the following suggestions:
- Creating a family emergency kit
- Inquiring about flood insurance
- Paying attention to the weather alerts
- Moving your furniture before the flood hits
When disaster strikes, it’s hard to know what to do next. We hope our tips for what to do after your house floods help you prepare for future events. At Saferoad, we offer affordable home and auto insurance in Anaheim and surrounding areas to ensure our customers are safe and secure. Contact us today for a free quote.