Flooding is one of the most difficult natural disasters to face and a significant trauma for property owners. “One of the biggest issues why people don’t carry flood insurance is apathy. I think many people think it won’t happen to them and are willing to take the risk,” says Loretta Worters, a spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute.
The average annual cost of flood insurance is minuscule compared to the average cost of a flooding claim when disaster strikes. Whether you own property near the coast and are exposed to the risk of coastal flooding, or your home is inland where severe rainstorms can cause damage, anyone can become a victim of flooding.
If you’re dealing with this home disaster, discerning what to do so you can resume your “normal life” again can seem daunting. If stress is flooding your life and you’re overwhelmed, here are some easy steps to follow to help you gain clarity on what to do next.
1. Verify Your Policy
Firstly, call your insurance agency. Verify that you have flood insurance, as standard homeowner’s insurance policies don’t include flood insurance. At Penny Insurance Agency, we make it a daily priority to maintain open, honest communication with those we insure. For almost a century, our trusted agents have been assisting people with their insurance needs. Once you’ve gained a better understanding of next steps from your insurance agent and gotten the ball rolling on filing a claim, you can focus on more tangible steps to help the process.
2. Take Photos
If it is safe to do so, document everything you can that suffered damage on your property. This includes water levels (if the flooding is still there), any major or minor water damage, photos of any ruined valuable items, and key structures of the home. There may even be damage that is difficult to see and pinpoint, so the more photos, the better. This will help ease the process of filing a claim if you have proper and substantial documentation.
3. Cleanup Safely
After you’ve contacted your insurance agency and properly documented the damage, you can begin the cleanup process. If it is safe to do, while following the instructions of local authorities, scan the perimeter for any obvious threats to your safety and then begin opening doors and windows to allow airflow. It is better to be safe than sorry, so always assume that flood water is polluted and unsafe, unless told otherwise. Work with a trusted contractor and professionals when assessing what to do next in cleanup and beginning to rebuild.
4. Prevent and Prepare
It may take some time to fully recover from a terrible flooding experience. Once you’re back on your feet, it’s important to consider what you can do to prevent the same damage and prepare for the future. Flood-proof your property as much as you can doing things like elevating the foundation of your home or vacation property, building in flood openings to the foundation, using water-resistant flooring in your home, and building with water-resistant insulation in the walls. In addition, verify that your homeowner’s insurance covers flooding, so that you’re protected in the future. Never just assume that your policy covers this– in fact, most homeowner’s insurance policies do not include flood insurance as part of the policy.
We understand how to help those facing critical situations and have been aiding people in navigating the waters of insurance for almost 90 years. Penny Insurance Agency is licensed in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Texas to better serve your unique property needs. For honest and personal service from one of our agents, give us a call or stop by one of our two office locations in Hendersonville, NC or Tryon, NC. We would be happy to speak with you about your insurance needs.