Nobody wants to find themselves in the middle of a catastrophe. Whether it’s a natural disaster, mechanical malfunction, or devastating accident, any damage to your property is bad news. But it does happen… a lot.
Hail damage alone costs over $1 billion in property damage each year. And that’s not even considering the other types of property damage sustained. Accidental, fire, and perhaps the most devastating, water damage, make up for plenty more insurance claims each year. The unfortunate reality is that even if an insurance company manages a satisfactory payout to a claimant, there is still plenty more work to do.
The cleanup and repair process often times takes years to complete. But nothing is more frustrating than the first couple days after property damage occurs. It can be overwhelming, scary, and downright dangerous when the aftereffects of devastation start to take place. That’s why it’s important to remain calm and follow of few steps to mitigate the total damage.
Go to the Professionals
When something as devastating as a flood occurs, there will be plenty of water damage cleanup that needs to take place. It’s crucial to remember that there are professionals who are trained to deal with these types of occurrences. And, it’s typically in your best interest to use them. Botching a water damage cleanup can have long-term effects that become much more complicated than the original disaster. In most circumstances, property needs to be dried within the first two days, so if you’re not in a position to complete the task yourself, it’s best to find someone who can.
Talk to Your Insurance Agency
If you have flood damage protection, you’re all set. Just make sure you take lots of photos for documentation. With so much work to do in the first few days, time can get away from you. So even if you aren’t able to contact your insurance agency immediately, you’ll need some evidence. It’s recommended that you touch base with your agent as soon as possible though. If you don’t have flood insurance, there are other scenarios in which you may be covered. So either way, give your local insurer a ring to assess the situation.
As soon as you’re sure it’s safe to reenter your residence, there will be a lot of work to do. Hopefully you have friends and family around that can pitch in, because you’ll need all the help you can get. First and foremost, you want to ensure that there is nothing hazardous that can harm your loved ones. The electric should be off and the water must be subsided before piling into your home. Once those things are done, it’s okay to schedule the work party.
Start With the Important Areas
Not all areas are created equally. If you’re out of a house for any period of time, it can be frustrating. Living with relatives or out of a hotel grows tiresome for any family, so in order to be back in your home as soon as possible, you’ll want to take care of the following first:
- Electrical issues
It’s hard to live without electric. Your heat, lights, and appliances all depend on it. Tackling that issue is paramount. The rest is pretty common sense. You’ll need food and a bathroom to live. Living areas such as bedrooms and dens can wait until last.
Keep Your Loved Ones Safe
There’s not much to say here. As talked about above, a house is just a house. It’s replaceable. Don’t take any risks trying to save it—especially when it comes to loved ones. There have been over 200 flooding deaths in the past 18 months. There doesn’t need to be any more. As long as you keep in mind what is most valuable, the amenities, appliances, and even time can all be made up for.
You’ll be anxious to have things back to normal. That’s reasonable. But you’ll be a lot better equipped for the future if you take your time and do things right during the process. Taking a few extra days to sort out electrical issues or repair foundational problems is worth it down the line. Doing things the right way now means saving yourself major headaches down the road. As long as you follow this simple guide to getting back on your feet after a disaster, everything should work out just fine.