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Encompass® Insurance Insights & Articles



Flood Cleanup

Protect your family by understanding what flood cleanup actions to take after a flood—and by knowing how to prepare for the possibility of a flood.1

Flood cleanup.

Flood Cleanup Tips—Make Sure Safety Comes First

After a catastrophe like a flood, there's a temptation to rush in and try to get things back to normal as quickly as possible. But floods often bring damage that isn't immediately obvious. So take these important steps to protect your family and your property.

  • Never consume food that has come in contact with flood waters.
  • Beware of fire hazards such as broken gas lines, flooded electrical circuits and flammable or explosive materials coming from upstream.
  • Flood waters may sweep poisonous snakes into your home. When walking through your home, wear thick shoes and be alert.
  • Inspect your home for damage, especially for cracks in foundations.
  • Water may have weakened walls and ceilings. Be on the lookout for falling walls and plaster.

Also make sure your entire family understands your community's various flood watches and warnings.

  • Flood watches are issued when rain is heavy enough to cause rivers to overflow.
  • Flood warnings describe the severity of the situation and indicate when and where the flood will begin.
  • Flash flood warnings are issued when flooding is occurring suddenly. In the event of flash flooding, move immediately to high ground.
  • Educate yourself and your family about your community's flood warnings.

Flood Cleanup Tips—Beware of Scams

Floods and other catastrophes have an unfortunate tendency to bring out scam artists and other dubious opportunists. Before you sign repair contracts or have work started, it can be a good idea to talk with your insurance agent. And while contractors may pressure you, don't let yourself be rushed into making a repair decision.

  • Keep all receipts done for work on your property.
  • Notify your insurance agent or company representative as soon as possible. If you have vacated the premises, make sure your representative knows where to contact you.
  • Take pictures of damaged property and keep notes. Use pictures and inventory lists to help your insurance agent and adjuster assess the damages.
  • Don't be rushed into signing repair contracts. Deal with reputable contractors. If you're unsure about a contractor's credentials, contact your claims adjuster, Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce for referrals. Make sure the contractor you hire is experienced in repair work - not just new construction. Be sure of payment terms and consult your agent or adjuster before you sign any contracts.

Flood Cleanup Tip—Flood Insurance 101

  • Flood insurance for homeowners, renters and businesses is administered through the federal government and can be purchased from an insurance agent or company under contract with the Federal Insurance Administration (FIA), part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) www.FEMA.gov.
  • Flood insurance is only available where the local government has adopted adequate flood plain management regulations under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Most communities participate in the program.
  • Make sure you understand the difference between flood insurance and other water-related insurance coverage. Our EncompassOne Elite Policy—a homeowners insurance and auto insurance package policy with higher limits, enhanced features, incredible convenience—or insurance for high value homes can protect you with sewer backup, drain backup and sump pump overflow coverage but does not cover flood.
  • If you are moving into a new home, apartment or business location, make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. Your bank, local officials or insurance representative can inform you if your location is at risk of flooding.
  • Maintain a supply of emergency materials: plywood, plastic sheeting, nails, hammer, shovels, sandbags, flashlight, batteries, battery-operated radio, first aid kit, medication, copy of documents, sturdy shoes, emergency food and water, cash and credit cards.
  • Install a system to prevent flood water from backing up in sewer drains.
  • Locate switches to turn off gas, electricity and water.
  • Make an inventory of your possessions and store it off the premises. If your stuff is damaged, this list will help facilitate the claim filing process.

1 Flood Safety information provide by FEMA and American Red Cross. For more information about flood and the steps that you can take to protect yourself, visit www.FEMA.gov or www.redcross.org.

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