7 Actions You Can Take
To Minimize Your Water Damage Losses,
Get Your Insurance Company to Pay for Repairs,
Save Time, Grief, and Save Thousands Out-of-Pocket…
Having a workable Contingency Plan ready
To deal with unexpected water intrusion
Is a vitally important First Step…
When a crisis hits, it’s only natural to panic – since you’ll usually find yourself in unfamiliar territory.
But, as professinally-trained emergency response teams have proven, being prepared can make all the difference in the ultimate outcome. Knowing all of your resources, as well as being able to take the right actions – calmly and quickly – should always be part of your plan.
And, whether you’ve got serious water leakage or flooding issues ‒ right now ‒ or you’re attempting to be proactive in the hopes of preventing them, the following 7 Action Steps are priceless.
Action 1 – Safety should always come first…
Mixing water and electricity is always dangerous, since it can cause shock and even death. If you experience basement or crawl space flooding, make sure your electrical appliances, fixtures, receptacles, or cords are not in contact with the water before you enter. And, above all, don’t plug anything in while you’re standing in or near the water.
Being smart and taking the right actions can keep you safe and free from injury. So, if you’re unsure about anything associated with the flooding, be sure to call your local fire department or emergency response team.
Action 2 – Pump, vacuum or clean up the water right away…
If you leave flood water standing for even just a few hours – it can irreparably damage building materials, your furniture, appliances, your heating/cooling systems, your personal effects, etc. – and especially your peace-of-mind.
So, if you have a water leakage or flooding issue, be sure to pump out the water as soon as you possibly can (or vacuum, bucket, or whatever it takes to get it out). Getting things dried out quickly can help prevent much of the potential damage, as well as helping prevent mold from developing. Taking quick action can save you literally thousands of dollars.
And, if you don’t have the equipment or capacity to clean up or pump the water out, you can always…
• Call your local fire department or emergency response team
• Call your insurance agent
• Call Fenwick Building, Renovation & Waterproofing RIGHT NOW!
We have a ‘prompt-response’ water damage restoration division.
Call us RIGHT NOW at these numbers…
856.753.1570 • 609.601.9400 • 215.627.2224
Action 3 – Dry everything out as quickly as possible…
Unfortunately, cleaning up or pumping the water out isn’t enough. When flooded, your rugs, carpet, drywall, and insulation can stay wet for a long time, which quickly creates the ideal environment for mold and bacteria damage.
You can help reduce the residual water and moisture even more by using commercial-grade fans and air movers, and installing a dehumidifier. In many cases, you may also need to use commercial-grade heater units.
You’ll need to implement any or all of these different ways to dry those soaked areas within the first 24 hours after a flood… but preferably much sooner.
You may need to dispose of soaked building materials, like drywall, wooden wall panels, structural wood (studs, etc.), insulation, stored items, carpet, or anything else that can hold water or moisture. You may need to cut openings in your partition walls to allow wall cavities to dry out. Remember, taking quick action can save you thousands in repair dollars later.
Action 4 – Check your sump pump, gutters & drains…
Sump pumps are designed to pump water out of the ‘sump’ in your basement (usually a 2-3 foot diameter concrete well casing or drain pipe, 3- 6 feet deep), where, due to the hydro-static pressure, water from a high water table will collect. So, knowing if you have a sump pump, and where it’s located is a good idea.
With storms and flooding, the ground around your foundation walls can become saturated, and subsequent storms or rain can aggravate the condition, or cause secondary flooding.
Since sump pumps are notorious for failing without warning, if you have one, make sure yours is always in good working order. Consider having a professional inspect your current system, and then have it inspect periodically going forward.
Have a look at your gutters – make sure they’re clean and free of debris.
Inspect your drains – Look for any evidence of clogging or backing up. These inspections are a kind of preventive maintenance that can offer quick fixes, help prevent repeat floods, and save you lots of time, money, inconvenience, and frustration.
Action 5 – Be sure you document everything…
If you experience flooding or water damage, will your insurance cover the repair costs? Is flooding or seepage a covered peril? Most homeowners don’t know if they’re covered, or, if they do have coverage, they’re not sure what’s covered, how much is covered (or the dollar value of the coverage).
If your home or building is flooded right now, it’s too late to worry about the insurance or to review your policy – since nows the time you should be in the highest, ‘quick action’ mode.
After you’ve ensured everyone’s safety, called your insurance broker and the fire department – it’s time to take action by taking pictures. Can’t find your camera? Use your smart phone – most take reasonable pictures (more than good enough for your purposes) – and you can take all the pictures necessary in only a few minutes.
If you have insurance coverage, these pictures will provide good evidence to document your loss. The insurance adjuster will need them – and anything else you can provide – to better process your potential claim. Quick action and good documentation provides proof, helps defend your claims, and can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket losses.
Action 6 – Call your insurance agent right away…
Since they’re experienced in flooding & water damage claims and the restoration process, a quick call to your insurance agent should give you answers to all your questions.
They should be able to tell you if you have coverage, and the extent of your coverage. But, sometimes facts or details are uncovered or discovered later, so it’s important to make sure you follow Action 5… just in case.
A good agent should be helpful and sincere in dealing with your loss, your fears, and your frustrations. If your agent seems evasive or seemingly uncaring ‒ it may be time to start shopping for a new agent.
Remember ‒ a quick action call to your agent should get you back on course and headed in the right direction.
Action 7 – Review your insurance policy…
When was the last time you looked at, much less carefully reviewed your current insurance policy? Do you know what the term ‘endorsement’ refers to? ‘Contents’ coverage? Sump pump? Drains? ‘Sewer back-up?’
Do you have adequate protection or coverage? How about any clause that limits mold and fungi coverage? And, if you do have coverage, what the perils are covered, and what’s excluded? What are your limits and deductibles?
If you’re not sure, or even confused, you’re in good company. Most folks rely on their insurance agents to make sure they have adequate protection and coverage. Unfortunately, insurance agents are only human, and many have been known to miss, overlook, or leave out little details that could end up costing you lots and lots of money.
In fact, they might not even realize you have coverage for your loss.
Did you know you can usually add a sump, drains, and sewer back-up endorsement to your existing policy, usually for under $100? Having this added endorsement – if your sump pump fails – could cover thousands in water-related damage.
Similarly, adding a mold and fungi endorsement could pay for damage caused by, and the necessary mold and fungi treatment resulting from water intrusion.
And, if unpredictable weather patterns continue, and disastrous storms increase wouldn’t it be nice to know you have an insurance ‘life jacket’ just in case? Take action now – take the time to read your insurance policy. If there’s anything in it you don’t understand, get answers from your agent. Add coverage you think is necessary.
As a property owner, this may be the best advice you’ll ever receive.
As always ‒ Dedicated to providing you healthier living…
And that’s worth thinking about, isn’t it?
Jim & Mike Allen, Owners
Fenwick & TermiGuard Services