ANNAPOLIS, Md.-Following this weekend’s major rainstorms and flash floods that caused extensive damage to Ellicott City and surrounding areas in Maryland, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) encourages residents to contact their insurer to begin the recovery process.
“Our thoughts are with those impacted by the heavy rains and flooding,” said Oyango Snell, PCI’s regional manager. “It’s important to contact your insurance agent or company right away to get the claims process started. Claims adjusters are standing by waiting for emergency officials to give them the ok to get into the field to help those impacted by the torrential rain storms that are causing massive amounts of flooding in Ellicott City, Maryland.
Insurers are available to answer questions and help families and business begin the recovery process. Once you file your claim, there are a number of things you can do such as photograph the damage and make an inventory of what was lost and damaged to help expedite the recovery process.
“If your vehicle was damaged in this recent round of rain, contact your insurance company or agent immediately to see if you have coverage,” said Snell. “Generally water damage to a vehicle is typically covered under an auto policy’s comprehensive insurance coverage.”
While the typical homeowners policy does not cover flood damage, there are resources available to help. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can be contacted at 800-621-3362 or www.fema.gov.
Residents with flood insurance policies through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) can contact either the flood insurance agent or the NFIP directly at (888) 379-9531 or www.floodsmart.gov.
What to do if you have Flooding Damage:
• Shovel or scrape the mud off your floors, furniture and walls before the mud dries. Then hose down the walls with clean water, starting from the ceiling.
• Major appliances, such as refrigerators and stoves, can be washed and dried completely. In most cases, they will not be damaged unless they were operating at the time the water covered them.
• Diluted chlorine bleach can be used to clean household items, appliances, walls and floors. This also will help control odors.
• Wood furniture should be dried outdoors, but not in direct sunlight. Remove drawers and other moving parts before they dry.
• A flooded basement should be pumped gradually to prevent structural damage. Pump out about a third of the water per day.
• Water and electricity make for a dangerous combination. Take the proper precautions to avoid electric shock.
• Food utensils and equipment should be washed thoroughly and sterilized before you use them. Any food that is open and exposed to flood waters should be discarded.
Tips If You Experienced a Loss:
• Immediately contact your insurance agent or company representative.
• Inspect property and cars for damage.
• Inventory losses and photograph damage, and save related receipts to assist with claims handling.
• Secure property from further damage or theft.
• Check the background and legitimacy of repair contractors. Ask your insurance company for assistance in locating a reputable contractor.
• Keep detailed records of business activity and extra expenses during the interruption period, and prepare records to show the income from the business both before and after the loss.
PCI will continue to conversation on twitter @PCIAA and use #FloodSafety where we will share important tips and stories throughout the year.