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Dealing with Disaster

There aren't many things more stressful than having your business or home affected by flooding. Some of that stress can be reduced though, by taking the proper steps post event, minimizing damage and maximizing the amount of the loss covered by insurance. No two losses are the same and no two events are the same, nor will these steps guarantee coverage of your loss. But we will cover some basic guidelines that should help you navigate this difficult time.

Avoid Additional Risks

  • Don't try to enter your facility or home during the event, even shallow flood waters can be very dangerous to traverse. 
  • Some events may require the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or another agency to deem it safe to enter your facility again you should check with your local authorities before returning.
  • Check for Structural Damage (warping, newly cracked foundation, or holes)
  • Contact Utility companies if you suspect damage 
  • With a flashlight and if they can be safely accessed turn off all electrical and water sources within the facility. Even if the power is off, it's still a safe bet to turn it off at the fuse box that way if the power is reactivated, you're not at less of a risk for electricity and standing water to mix.

Take Pictures

  • Before you remove or clean anything fully document all damage you can for your insurer, if you don't properly document everything you run the risk of decreasing your coverage.
  • Something that Encore does and would recommend to you is put all of the files and pictures on an accessible cloud storage drive. This would grant easy access to yourself, your insurance agent, and all other necessary parties.

Protect Your Health

  • Even if your water looks clean, it could still contain sewage or household chemicals
  • Throw out all food that may have come in contact with flood water
  • FEMA recommends boiling water until authorities declare the water supply safe
  • It is recommended to wear waders or water proof boots, thick rubber gloves, and often a face mask and goggles. 

Contact Your Insurance Company

  • You should notify your insurer as soon as possible, it's a good idea to have their number on hand. Your local agent may be busy, if you can't reach them contact the company head quarters.
  • Not all policies cover a groundwater flood, but even if you don't think your policy covers the loss contact your agent and or adjuster anyway. 
  • Advise your insurance representative of the state of the property and any work you intend to do immediately.
  • Follow all of their directions and document the damage, repairs, and conversations the most you can along the way to assure you maximize your coverage.

Find Out if You're in a Disaster Area

  • If your area has been officially declared a "disaster area" by government authorities. Then you may have access to increased resources, including small business recovery loans.
  • FEMA Loans
  • Small Business Loans

Secure the Property

  • The security of your facility may have been compromised
  • Board up broken windows secure a tarp as protection if the roof has been damaged, do whatever you can do to prevent further damage to the building, the contents, or yourself.

Restoring the Facility

  • These steps will vary the most from loss to loss
  • Remove all the water from the facility, the longer the water is in the facility the more damage it will do.
  • Mold can develop within 48 hours, and start to cause secondary damage. 
  • All groundwater floods are treated the same as sewage, which normally means porous materials are not salvageable.
  • Once you remove the wet material, you need to dry your facility, you will not be able to remove the wooden substrate most of the time. So it will need to be dried and treated properly.
  • You may also wish to hire a flood restoration service, if you go this route we at Encore Inc. would be happy to assist you. 


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