What to Do Following a Flood
If your home has suffered flood damage below are basic steps to take in assessing the damage, reporting the claim and beginning the cleanup process.
Beware of Hazards
- Check your home for structural damage before re-entering. Also, be aware of other hazards within your home once you re-enter it.
- Contact the appropriate utility company immediately if you suspect damage to water, gas, electric or sewer lines.
- Throw away any food that came in contact with floodwaters.
- Make sure to boil water until authorities declare the water supply is safe to drink.
Filing a Flood Insurance Claim
- To file a flood insurance claim you may call our Customer Service Call Center at 1-800-799-7500 or online using the flood insurance portal. You will need the following information to report your claim:
- The name of your insurance company (your agent may write policies for more than one company);
- Your policy number; and
- A telephone number/email address where you can be reached.
- Make sure to take photos of any water in the house and damaged personal property. Separate damaged items from undamaged items and if necessary, place damaged items outside the home. Your adjuster will need evidence of the damage and damaged items (ie. cut swatches from carpeting) to prepare your repair estimate.
- Also, make a list of damaged or lost items and include their age and value where possible. If possible, supply receipts for those lost items to the adjuster. Officials may require disposal of damaged items, so be sure to keep a swatch or other sample of the items disposed of for the adjuster.
- Prevent mold by removing wet contents immediately. Mold can develop within 24 to 48 hours when wet carpeting, furniture, bedding, and any other items holding moisture or water inside are left inside a building.
- Help control mold growth for items wet for less than 48 hours by cleaning them with a phenolic or pine-oil cleaner (non-ammonia detergent, soap or commercial cleaner) and disinfecting with a 10 percent bleach solution (1-1/2 cups of bleach in a gallon of water). After cleaning items should be completely dried and monitored for several days for any fungal growth and odors. Throw the item away if mold develops.
- Make sure to thoroughly dry out the building’s interior. Air conditions can be used to start the drying-out process. Also, portable dehumidifiers are useful to dry out the interior. Rental costs of dehumidifiers may be covered under your flood policy.
- If the walls are damaged, take photographs of the baseboard and then remove the baseboard. You will need to knock small holes at floor level in the drywall, between the wall studs, to allow the moisture trapped behind the drywall to seep out and start drying.
- Get your furnace checked for damage. Your water heater may work, but if the floodwater covered part or the entire tank, the insulation between the walls may be damaged. You will need to get an estimate to replace the damaged furnace and water heater.
- Before repairing your building, contact your local building inspections, planning or county clerk’s office to get more information on local building requirements. If you cannot find a local contact, call South Carolina’s National Flood Insurance Program coordinator at 803-734-3672.
- Wild animals often seek refuge from floodwaters in the upper levels of homes and will remain there until the water recedes. Do not approach any wild animals taking refuge in your home. Please call your local animal control office or wildlife resource office to handle these situations.