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My home is water damaged, what do I do?

Condo Insurance

By Viola Wallace | August 8, 2018

Water damage can cause a lot of physical damage and be financially catastrophic. Water damage and its impact can also pose a serious risk to human health. It can be caused by a sudden disastrous event like a flood or a burst pipe or occur over time. Water damage is a risk that all homeowners should be prepared to face at one time or another. So, if your home is damaged by water, what do you do? This article will walk you through the steps.

What to Do For Water Damage

  1. Turn of water and power if there is anything more than a small puddle of water.
  2. Document the damage and call your insurance provider and any applicable service companies.
  3. Do damage control and begin the cleanup.
  4. Get repairs.

1. Turn off the water and power.

Immediately turn off the water and power in your home. This is especially important if the water is coming from a burst pipe or if there is a lot of standing water. Don’t operate any electrical appliances or touch outlets or plugs as you may be at risk of electrocution, depending on where the water is. If it is safe to do so, you can leave the power on – but don’t crank the heat! If you have an air conditioner and it is safe, you can turn this on.

2. Document the damage and call your insurance provider and service provider.

Take pictures and videos of the water damage. This is important documentation to provide to your insurance provider later. Always consider your safety when documenting! Use caution when moving around and don the appropriate safety gear.

Call your insurance provider or your broker. They will walk you through what you should do and advise you if you have coverage. They may have recommended vendors to use. You will also want to call a plumber, restoration company, or another service provider to help fix the problem and clean up the mess.

3. Damage control and cleanup.

If it is safe to do so, you can begin cleaning up the mess. Remember to be careful and wear the proper safety apparel.

Do not try to suck up the water with a vacuum cleaner or crank the heat! If it is safe, you can turn on your air conditioning unit (or open your windows if the weather is cool). You want to dry out your home but you also want to keep it cool.

The cleanup efforts really depend on the amount of water and the type of water. Clean water clean up is a lot easier (and safer) than cleaning up sewage backup, for example.

If the water is clean, you can begin by removing the standing water. This can be done with a pump or by mop if there isn’t a lot of water.  Once the water is removed, the damaged area will likely still be damp. Hand dry and remove any valuables. Open any drawers or doors and dry and remove any wooden or metal furniture – you can remove it somewhere dry or use aluminium foil or plastic as a barrier between the furniture and damp flooring. Cloth furniture may be harder to dry out and may be a loss. You can hang clothing and other fabrics to dry or use a dryer, if possible. Rugs and carpet may not be able to be saved if they are very wet for any amount of time.

Throw away anything that is too damaged or no longer safe to use bearing in mind that mould and mildew often occur in wet conditions and these can cause allergic reactions.

You can hire a restoration company to help. Your insurance provider will have recommended vendors. Keep in mind that these services may not be covered or may need to be paid by you upfront.

Remember to document the damage as you go!

4. Repairs

If there was sewer backup or a large amount of water, you will likely need some repairs to flooring and drywall. It is best to get your flooring and walls checked by a professional to check if they’re damaged and, if so, the extent of the damage.

Your broker is here to help you with the claims process and answer any of your questions. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need support.

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