Nothing wrecks a home like water damage. A little bit of liquid inside the walls can create a whole lot of havoc. The property damage is bad enough on its own, but throw in the electrical considerations and possibility of mold, and there’s a whole new set of worries. Insurance is not always there to pick up the bill either, leaving you on your own for clean up. Whether it’s a burst pipe, act of nature, or self-inflicted flood, there are ways to combat and even repair the damage on your own.
Flooding is the top natural disaster in the country. That means you need to be prepared to deal with it even if you are not in a flood plane. The average claim tops out at over $40,000—but those without insurance won’t be filing. So what do you do? First, step back and breathe. It may take a little work, but you can fix it. All you have to do is follow these steps:
- Assess the water purity: If water entered through a water line, that’s different than via a sewage backup. The more pollutants in the water the worse off you generally are. If it has bacteria in it, it can cause illness just through simple contact. It also means that your damaged valuables have to go. So count your blessings if your water damage was only inflicted by a clean source. There will still be plenty of work to do, but at least some of your property will be salvageable—not to mention it will be a much safer environment to work in.
- Get started now: Okay, so we technically said that you should step back and breathe, but the truth is that you don’t have time to waste. You basically have a two-day window before mold can start to grow. That means you have to get your property completely dry in that time frame. Professional companies can do it that fast. So, try to find an affordable one that takes care of water damage repairs. Counter to popular belief, there are some out there. If time is money, then you truly will be saving a fortune by going with experts in water-damage repairs. You’ll have plenty enough work for yourself, there is no reason to try and do everything without help.
- See if the government has stepped in: If you’re in a declared disaster area, you could be in some luck. Government assistance could be on the way in the form of resources and even financial aid. Public services can even pitch in if your property qualifies for this designation. You’ll probably know immediately if the government has declared your home to be within a disaster area, but it never hurts to double check. Things get hectic when a natural disaster happens, so talk to your local officials and neighbors to stay up on the news.
- Snap some pictures: Of course you will need documentation if you’re going to recoup any value for your property. Maybe you read the insurance claim wrong, or possibly you’re covered because someone else is at fault. Either way, there will be no way to prove the extent of the damage if you don’t have evidence.
- Keep others out: You’ll probably need some help if you’re cleaning up on your own. Just make sure that all parties involved are aware of the risks that come with cleaning up the property. It’s best to keep out those who are not involved with the cleanup at all.
- Check places you don’t think were affected: If your basement is flooded, chances are that other areas were affected. The water came in from somewhere. Find the source and follow every route it could have taken. Even if you’re relatively sure that you know all the affected areas, there is nothing worse than finding out later that another area was damaged and you missed out on potential financial recuperation.
- Talk to your insurance company: Just because you don’t have flood insurance doesn’t mean there’s not some other loophole that can save you. If the property damage is deemed to be another’s fault, you could see some insurance money coming your way. And don’t forget about homeowner’s insurance either. There are multiple ways to gain financial relief when it comes to property damage. The best way to find out your benefits is by talking to your representative. And don’t forget to follow the rest of these pointers to ensure that your property enjoys a full-scale recovery.
While water damage can be stressful and annoying, it is not the end of the world. And it certainly does not have to make you hate your house. It is possible to recover your home from water damage.