There are so many questions that rush to a person’s mind when they experience a flood event in their home or business. How did this happen? Am I insured? What should I do right away?
The first thing a person should do when they have any significant flood damage (after making sure the area is safe) is call their insurance company. The insurance company must be notified before any action can be taken in which a policy holder can expect to be compensated for. This also gets the process started which will allow the insurance company to properly assess the situation.
The next thing a person should do is call a Flood damage restoration company to immediately begin the process of drying out the damage area. In this regard, this is more of preservation issue than restoration. Every minute that goes by in which damage mitigation is not begun is a minute that causes more damage. Sheetrock is very much like a wick when it comes to moisture. Water is slowly drawn up into the fibrous structure of the gypsum and as it is drawn up it adds to the damage as wet sheetrock cannot be restored and must be removed. Wood has a very similar reaction to water as it too is fibrous in nature and the longer it is exposed to standing water the more likely it is to be permanently damaged. Almost the same can be said for furniture, carpeting and other non-paper product belongings (paper products which are thoroughly soaked typically cannot be salvaged). A qualified flood damage restoration company immediately come over and set up several pieces of equipment depending on the exact nature of the damage. You can be certain there will be at least one commercial dehumidifier on site and likely some high-velocity air movers to aid in the drying process. Other flood damage mitigation efforts may require the removal of sheetrock 24” or 48” up depending on the length of time of exposure. This removal of low lying wet sheetrock will prevent the above mentioned wick affect from damaging sheetrock at higher levels. If carpeting was affected the mitigation team might use high-powered water suction units to remove flooded material. Throughout this process a dry-log is kept which documents the moisture levels at the time of arrival until all materials have reached their optimal moisture content.
Once the drying process is properly begun, the policy holder can turn their attention to the business aspect of this process. Most interior flood events are covered by homeowners insurance. This would include both mechanical flood events (burst pipe, washing machine malfunction, etc) as well as natural events such as a roof leak. Events that would cause a claim to be denied would be situations that were going on for an extended period of time and not corrected (flashing around a window failing) or anything which can be labeled as a maintenance failure (old roof, silicone around doors and windows, foundation seal failure) will likely be denied. We DO NOT recommend the use of a public claims adjuster as most of the “additional” compensation they get for you goes to paying them their 30-40% compensation fee. A good water damage mitigation company will be able to put together documentation to affect a positive outcome in your bid for a successful claim.