What Can I Do About Flood Damage On My Property?

Flooding can be absolutely devastating. Whether the water comes from increasingly severe hurricanes, rainfall, flash floods, and rising sea levels, a negligent neighbor, or a burst pipe, flooding can totally upend your life. Beyond the trauma and physical harm that flooding can cause, it can also cause significant damage to your home and property. Even beyond the immediate mess and property destruction, once the water clears, you’re often left with much more extensive, longer lasting, and costlier damage. This could include major appliances that may need to be replaced (including washer/dryers, furnaces, water heaters, fridges, and stoves), as well as larger issues that require comprehensive repairs and abatement measures, such as roof, floor, and wall damage, plumbing and electric wiring damage, toxic mold, and structural weakening.

In the direct aftermath of a major flooding event, you may be disoriented, scared, and unsure what to do. According to flood experts, your first steps should be as follows:
  1. Be safe about your return: If you have been evacuated, do not return to your home unless the agency in charge of your evacuation has told you it is safe to do so. Once you return, you should be very careful when entering your home, as there could be dangerous hidden structural damage. You should also make sure the water supply is safe before drinking or making ice with tap water.
  2. Survey, inventory and document all damages: Go through the house and thoroughly document the damages to both the inside and outside of the house. Do this by taking pictures, videos, and written or recorded notes for reference. If possible, try to get pictures that show the height of the water, the surface area it covered, and any areas that sustained water damage but might now be drying out. You should then make an inventory of all property and items that were damaged or destroyed by the flood. If you live in a flood-prone area, you should try to habitually inventory your belongings from time to time. If you don’t have any pre-existing inventory, list each damaged item and try to recall from memory when they were purchased, where they were purchased, and how much they cost.
  3. Do all immediate clean-up that you can: After you have extensively documented the damages in your home, you should try to clean up as much of the flood water in your home as you can. Thoroughly disinfect everything that got wet, as flood water is sometimes contaminated with bacteria and other harmful biohazards.
At this juncture, you should very strongly consider contacting an attorney who specializes in flood damage claims and getting a consultation about your case. While the process of filing a claim for flood damage should be relatively simple and straightforward and should be something the average person can do on their own, it is often painfully and prohibitively complicated. The fact is, insurance companies prolong this process by actively looking for any reason possible to invalidate or not fully pay your claim. Making a small error or wording a claim a certain way could result in an outright denial. Meanwhile, insurance adjusters can poke holes in your claim, even if it’s 100 percent truthful, and use that to cast doubt and argue against your payout. Having an advocate who is familiar with the field and can help you with every step of the process can make all the difference. A flood damages attorney will help you interpret your insurance policy, get professional damage appraisal and documentation, and make sure all filings are exact and in order. They will also go to bat for you and advocate for your case against any resistance put up by your insurance company. If you are facing flood damage in the Pensacola, Florida area, Chris Crawford and the attorneys at Crawford Law are ready to help. With an extensive base of knowledge about flood damage and insurance claim law, they can easily untangle even the messiest of cases. What’s more, the attorneys at Crawford Law aren’t scared to go to trial and have the reputation among insurance companies to show for it. As a Crawford Law client, you get passionate and personalized commitment to receiving the full, comprehensive coverage you deserve. Call (850) 432-7726 or visit our website for a free consultation on your case.

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