The fact that many individuals are not aware of is that during a natural disaster like a hurricane, the element that produces the most amount of damage is actually the water that comes from such storm, not the wind power, or another issue. Water is the element that takes the most lives and initiates the most property damage, and floods are known to be disastrous. A homeowner experiencing a flood is the worst possible scenario that they can encounter after a hurricane, especially in Miami, being that we are just one-meter above sea level. For this matter, relief and quick assessment of the damages could be attained if the homeowner has purchased flood insurance, which is highly recommended in states like Florida, where flood occurrences could happen at any given moment. If a hurricane were to make landfall in Florida, to have a peace of mind, homeowners should purchase the separate coverage for floods because it is not included within their normal policy coverage.
After having been through a flood, as a homeowner, multiple things should be done. Desperation and sense of fear may set in, but our skilled public adjusters in Miami never recommend a homeowner to let that fear set in. These professional public adjusters know what they must do, and how they can use their knowledge to enhance the benefits that the policyholder will receive through the claims process. We recommend that each homeowner that experiences flood damage perform a variety of things. Listed below will be some relevant actions that each homeowner must perform following a natural disaster that resulted in the flooding on their home.
What You Need to Do If Your Home Is Flooded
These are the steps that have been noted by various public adjusters that a homeowner should abide by. The more specific things are assessed, the more compensation and least amount of hassle a homeowner who is claiming flood insurance will go through:
- The Initial Assessment of Damages of Flooding When a home or apartment is flooded, the first thing that must be done is too sure there are no safety concerns. Things like down power lines, septic leaks, and other hazards may need cleaning beyond the average person’s scope. Once the area is deemed safe, turn off the water lines. Disconnect all electrical appliances to make sure there is no risk of electrocution. The utility companies must be notified if there are an electric, water, gas or sewage line problems. Having to pay for an insurance policy or claim should not come from the renters. The landlord should have adequate coverage. However, the policy usually does not cover the tenants’ personal belongings. A renter’s policy will include them in the event of a burst pipe but not an act of nature.
- Get Proof of The Damages Get lots of photographs before any cleanup begins. All flooded areas must be documented, and this evidence is used to support the insurance claim. The public adjuster will want to see these pictures and other documentation of the incident. During a flood, the water damage is categorized as clean, gray, or black. Clean water is nothing more than a nuisance, but it does not present any health risks. Gray water comes from sinks, showers, dishwashers, but does not contain fecal matter. Blackwater is the most dangerous as it includes sewage.
- Cleaning Up the Mess Once the damages have been assessed, a decision must be made on whether to clean up the mess or call in professionals. First, open all the windows to help the air circulate. The excess water must be removed, so it does not cause mold and swelling on drywall or floorboards. A shop vac or water pump can quickly remove the mess. Anything that was contaminated with sewage must be thrown away. Carpets and furniture should be cleaned and sanitized if it can be salvaged. Diluted bleach is the best thing to disinfect after a flood. Be on the lookout for any damaged that were missed during the original assessment. The electric breaker box should be turned off and not turned back on until it has been cleared by a professional. Gas lines should be inspected before used too. When handling water that is contaminated, make sure that you use gloves, masks, and other protective gear.
Things Not Covered with Flood Insurance
Unless flooding happens as the result of a broken pipe or another covered peril, there will not be any coverage of a typical insurance policy. A separate policy is required to ensure the Miami home is adequately covered. There are two types of flood policies one that includes the house and another that covers personal belongings. A standard homeowner’s flood policy covers the structure, electrical, sewage, appliances, carpet, and other structural things. A personal affect insurance coverage is for clothing, furniture, area rugs, window AC units, microwave ovens, and the washer and dryer.
There are also dollar amounts and limits on each insurance. It is always best to have adequate coverage to protect all the things that make a house a home. Floods can happen at any time in Florida, and the last thing a person wants is to be caught with water a foot high and have no insurance coverage to cover the cost that will come from a flood. Learning of the specific, deductibles, and limits within each policy are crucial before entering hurricane season, which we are already in.
Florida’s Facts and Numbers on Flood Insurance
Due to being amongst the most flooded state every year, those who are the most covered for floods live in Florida, for a good reason. A fact that can support that is that south Florida is only one meter above sea level, meaning that any bit of rain that occurs will mostly cause areas to flood. Beneath will be listed some shocking numbers and facts regarding Florida insurances for floods:
- Florida had 3310 flood claims in the year 2016; total claim payments was 17.2 million
- Florida had 129,597 active flood policies in 2016
- $250,000 is the max coverage provided through NFIP for structural damage
- Hurricane Katrina was the most significant hurricane that caused extensive flooding damage
Florida’s Insurance Policies by County for the year 2017 and beyond
Below is a chart representing the flood insurance policies in 2017 for each county in Florida. As you can tell, Florida is amongst the highest.
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency
The county with the most active flood insurance policyholders is in Miami-Dade, as one can notice from the above chart. One can assume that due to the numbers, flooding must occur regularly in this county, for that reason, homeowners need to take flood insurance coverage seriously. Don’t become a homeowner that has to pay out-of-pocket for damages done by flooding because you failed to purchase the additional coverage. Our public adjusters want to assist you during this time of need.
What Churchill Public Adjusters Can Offer You
Living in Florida comes with its pros and cons, just like any other place, and being susceptible to floods is one of those downfalls. At our office, we offer our clients a sense of relief knowing that we fight for them. We do not rest until their flooded homes have been compensated for. We understand that the loss of an entire home could leave long-lasting effects on homeowners and that the amount of money needed to repair a home could be too much for a policyholder, and because of that, our expert Miami public adjusters utilize all of their experience to ensure that each client that enters our office is well-taken care of that that their homes a repaired in a swiftly manner. Don’t worry about those insurance companies; we handle them!