Summer months are always the best time of the year as you can enjoy your days at the pool or a sandy beach.  But it is also the time period when disaster such as hurricanes and flooding can occur.  Always listening to any weather advisors sent by local officials as they will know what the next steps to follow are.  Focus on keeping you and your family safe as well as protecting your property if an evacuation is necessary.

Protecting You and Your Family

Please take flood warnings seriously doing so could save your life and that of your family.  Know the difference between the meanings of each advisory so that you can plan accordingly with your family.  For example, a flood watch issued means heavy rain is expected which could potentially overflow rivers or bayous.  In the case of a flash flood warning, this means flooding is occurring suddenly and you should immediately move to higher ground.  Develop a plan for you and your family to communicate with each other if separated during flooding in your community.  Make sure to share important contact name and numbers with your family of others to call in case of an emergency.

Protecting Your Property

Always have on hand emergency materials such as plywood, sandbags, flashlights, first aid kit and emergency food and water.  Also make sure everyone in your home know where to locate switches and how to turn off gas, water and electricity.  Whether you live in a home or an apartment make sure that you have appropriate insurance coverage.  You can always contact local officials or insurance agent to inquire on your community being at risk of flooding.  Your homeowners and renters policies do not provide flood coverage.  Flood insurance can be purchased from your insurance agent under contract with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  Flood insurance covers direct losses from floods and those resulting from flood related erosion to the structure and contents of your home.

Recovering from a Flood

Only enter your home if flood waters are over a safe height.  Wear thick shoes and stay alert as you walk through your home as waters may have bacteria and poisonous snakes.  Do not consume food that had contact with flood waters and beware of fire hazards.  While safely inside inspect your home for damage such as cracks in foundation, weakened walls and ceilings.  If your home has a basement, remove one-third of water per day, pumping all at once could cause collapsing walls.  Make temporary repairs to avoid causing more damage to your home and keep all receipts.  Call your insurance agent immediately so you can report a claim to the damages made to your home.  Take pictures of damaged property and make notes so that you can show your claims adjuster.  Do not rush into signing repair contracts, chose reputable contractors with experience in repair work.

Filing a Flood Insurance Claim

Report a loss to your home as soon as possible to your insurance agent.  An adjuster will contact you to discuss your claim and schedule an appointment within 24-48 hours after you file a claim.  Before the appointment, have on hand documents relating to damaged property along with your policy number and insurance company information.  During the appointment, measurements and photos will be taken of the damage to your home caused by flooding.  The adjuster will give a Proof of Loss document to send to your insurance company based on the assessment made.  The adjuster will then provide you with their contact information and a claim number to keep for your records.  You can use the assigned claim number to stay informed on the status of your claim.