What To Do If Your House Gets Flooded

Maybe this will happen to you? Hopefully it won't, but here is what I've learned to do if your house gets flooded, from experience.

  • Stay calm, the damage is done, and call your home owners insurance company right away.
    • Your insurance company will more than likely call a disaster recovery company and temporary accommodations for you, if needed. And I hate to say this, but the damage is probably twice as bad as what you see, at least.
  • Now schedule the disaster company to come over and a place to stay with the accommodations people. Think about (and have contact information) for where you would like to stay. 
    • If it is going to be a while, consider getting a hotel room with a kitchenette. Your insurance should take care of any pets too.
  • Take pictures. Overall pictures, pictures of priceless items, damaged items, of anything that may need to be repaired and/or replaced - there is no such thing as too many pictures.
  • Now, start packing a bag. At least enough stuff for the next three days including all clothes, food, personal valuables, etc. 
    • You can always come back to grab more things, but prepare yourself, your house is going to get tore up and there will be people going in and out of your house that you do not know. Box up any personal items (including those in drawers) because if it is in your house, someone is going to see it. 
  • When the disaster relief company comes to clean up the damages, make sure you remove any perishable items out right away. When they crank up those air movers and de-humidifiers, it will get HOT up in there. 
    • Our house was 97 degrees at one point. Luckily, we moved all of our wine and required medications out of there. I do not recommend drinking wine and taking meds, but when your house is flooded a lot of reason goes out the window. :)
  • Once the insurance adjusters come out (you will probably have two people to deal with, one for contents and one for construction damages), you can start moving out your stuff once they've left. We ordered a POD and this seemed like the best way. Once most of your stuff is moved out, cleanup can begin and a list can be created of all your damaged items, their values, and ages.
  • While you are waiting for the quotes from your adjusters, have a couple contractors come over to assess the damage. Let them point out potential problem areas and write up a quote for you.
    • When you get the amounts back from your adjusters, compare them to the quotes you got from your contractors and change as necessary to ensure you get your home back to the way it started. Let your adjuster know of any discrepancies.
  • You will most likely have wall damage, and this means your baseboards will be removed and your sheetrock will be cut back up to about a foot at all affected areas. Sheetrock damage means sheetrock repair. And sheetrock repair means there WILL BE dust on EVERYTHING. 
    • Take all clothes out of your closet (I actually put mine in the back seat of my car - kept it real classy), and remove everything that you don't want the dust on. We had to launder curtains, vacuum blinds... like I said, it gets on EVERYTHING. It not just like dust either, it has to be washed off, not just wiped. Such a mess...
  • Hire a contractor. Someone whom you trust or is highly recommended. They can get started on the cleanup while you start picking out new flooring, etc. and getting that ordered.
    • We had to order all new flooring, vanities in the restrooms, base cabinets in the kitchens, and trim work. Keep in mind you CANNOT patch paint egg shell wall finish or you will see a line where the existing starts and the new begins. If you are going to have to repaint walls anyways, now would be a good time to change colors if you wish.
  • Go shopping. Review the replacement value of items that were listed and keep all receipts for you will need to send the original receipts back to get reimbursed for the full replacement value. Otherwise you will only get repayment for the depreciated value.
  • You will spend more money than you get. Just get used to it and plan for it, because even though we didn't want to spend a dime over what our insurance gave us, it became necessary at some points. 
    • When we removed our base cabinets we had to replace our sink disposal, when we got new vanities, we have to adjust plumbing, and wouldn't this upgraded tile be better than sheet vinyl? Of course it would! We spent over $1,000 of our own money during this process... thank goodness for savings accounts.
  • It will take twice as long as you think. We have been out of our house for almost 2 months. I never dreamed in a million years that it would take longer than a month, but things take time. The flooring alone took two weeks to order, deliver, and install, and that was just by Home Depot. Keep on top of your contractor and if something isn't done right, question it.
  • Most of all, keep a good attitude. This is what insurance is for. It is just stuff, and it will all be fine in the end with a shiny new paint job. I suggest having a "flood is gone" party when it is all over!

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