Flood recovery: what
do do now
SEATTLE - Floodwaters may be receding, but
the hardships are far from over for many displaced Western Washington
residents. As people return to their flood-ravaged homes and businesses,
they're left with the daunting task of recovering from some of
the worst flooding in recent years.
Recovery can be a difficult process. If you
have Flood Insurance, however, your damaged property is covered
up to the policy limits you purchased under the National Flood
Insurance Program (http://www.floodsmart.gov).
Standard Homeowners and Business insurance
policies don't cover losses due to flooding. Flood Insurance can
only be purchased through NFIP, administered by the Federal Emergency
Management Agency. Mudslide and landslide are specifically excluded
from standard Homeowners and Business Owners insurance policies.
Those who want coverage for landslides or mudslides can purchase
a Difference in Conditions policy through a surplus lines
carrier. Coverage for mudflow - defined as a moving river of mud
- is available as part of a Flood Insurance policy.
NW Insurance Council, the Institute for Business
& Home Safety and NFIP offer the following recovery tips to help
you get back on your feet in the days ahead:
- Standard Homeowners and Business insurance policies generally
don't cover losses due to flooding. Flood Insurance can only
be purchased through NFIP, administered by the Federal Emergency
- If your home, apartment or business has suffered damage
that exceeds your deductible amount, call the insurance company
or agent who handles your flood insurance policy right away
to file a claim.
- Before entering a building, check for structural damage.
Don't go in if there is any chance of the building collapsing.
- Upon entering the building, do not use matches, cigarette
lighters or any other open flames, since flooding may have
damaged your gas lines and gas may be trapped inside. Instead,
use a flashlight to light your way.
- Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system
- Floodwaters pick up sewage and chemicals from roads, farms
and factories. If your home has been flooded, protect your
family's health by cleaning up your house right away. Throw
out foods and medicines that may have come into contact with
- Until local authorities proclaim your water supply safe,
boil water for drinking and food preparation for five minutes
- Be careful walking around. After a flood, steps and floors
are often slippery with mud and covered with debris, including
nails and broken glass.
- Remove as much standing water as possible from inside your
home or business.
- Ventilate your home or business with fans and/or dehumidifiers.
- Take steps to reduce your risk of future floods. Make sure
to follow local building codes and ordinances when rebuilding,
and use flood-resistant materials and techniques to protect
yourself and your property from future flood damage.
For more information about Flood Insurance,
contact your insurance company or agent, or call NFIP at (888-FLOOD29)
or visit http://www.floodsmart.gov.
For free copies of brochures titled Are You Ready? Preparing
Your Family, Home & Business for the Next Disaster and Things
You Should Know About Flood Insurance, contact NW Insurance
Council at (800) 664-4942 or visit www.nwinsurance.org.
NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education
organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington,
Oregon and Idaho.