As soon as floodwater levels drop, it’s time to start the recovery process. First, flood victims are encouraged to pre-register for Disaster Supplemental Assistance Program (DSNAP) benefits that include grants for home repairs and temporary housing, low-cost loans to pay for uninsured property losses and other agencies and programs to assist families and business owners who are recovering from the effects of the flood. Also consult your homeowner’s insurance policy, as many policies include clauses for additional living expenses when the policyholder is displaced.
Many mortgage companies will give at least a three-month furlough on payments under the disaster program. Some auto finance and credit card companies may also defer payments due to the hardship, so contact these companies as soon as possible as well.
Take these steps to begin restoring your home and property:
- Wait for water to drain before attempting to return to your home.
- Check for structural or foundational damage before entering the home to avoid being trapped in a building collapse.
- File an insurance claim with your insurance company.
- Take photos of all the damage and contents in your home, including buildings as well as your garage, fencing and landscaping.
- Make a list of all lost or damaged items and include their value and purchase date.
- Keep power off until an electrician can inspect your system.
- Boil water for food preparation and drinking until authorities inform you that your water supply is safe.
- Begin removing wet contents to avoid molding.
- Wear boots and gloves to clean and disinfect your home. Clean wet items with bleach and a pine-oil cleanser and dry completely. Watch items for several days for any odors or fungal growth.
Keep in mind that many flood insurance policies allow around $10,000 for debris removal. However, you cannot get reimbursed for free work or work you pay for in cash, so use a debit or credit card if possible, and make sure you get and save invoices and receipts for all work purchased.