Flooded Basement? Here’s What You Need to Know

When a basement floods, it can be blamed on an assortment of reasons: pipe bursts, appliance malfunctions, a weather event or maybe a sewage backup. But whatever the cause, when huge amounts of water or contaminated water enter a home’s finished basement, the damage is almost always extensive and costly. If you are unfortunate enough to experience a flooded basement, you’re not alone. Water damage or freezing claim accounts for approximately 1 out of every 4 home insurance claims. Here are some things to expect and consider during the restoration process flooded basement.

Be safe

If your basement has just flooded, know that you should never walk or enter into any standing water. The water could be touching a hot wire and be conducting electricity.  Or the water could be contaminated with sewage or bacteria. There are many risks and it’s not worth risking. Wait for the water damage restoration team to arrive and remove the water from your home. They will let you know when it is safe to enter your basement again.

Insurance

Your homeowner’s insurance will play a big role. Contact them as soon as you can and find out if you are covered. This will depend very much on the type of flood water and how it happened. For example, if you live in a flood plain, you need to have a separate policy from the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program). Or if your flood is from a sump pump failure, some homeowner’s insurance policies require sump pump coverage added to the policy. Many homeowners realize this when it’s too late.

Typically, if it’s something that was homeowner fault or could have been prevented, it may be denied coverage. There also could be other provisions in place depending on the policy that you have.

When You Are Covered (And Hopefully You Are)

When you find out that you are covered one of your first questions should be: How will I be compensated for my loss and how will that be determined? The bad news is that with some personal content and keepsakes, you may not be able to put a real value to item. The good news is that with most items, you can typically get more money than what your items were worth to replace them because of inflation. This happens because as belongings depreciate over time, their actual value might not reflect their replacement cost. Therefore, while your basement might be insured for $50,000 of actual value, it could have as much as $100,000 in replacement value coverage. This will ensure that you can re-purchase and replace the damaged items at today’s higher prices.

For example if you if you have an old recliner chair that you purchased on Craigslist for $50, the insurance company will determine the average replacement cost of a comparable model which will be much more than the deal you got on Craigslist.

It will be a lot of itemizing and estimating and numbers, and there may be some adjusting and compromising on both sides. However, it’s good to know that everything should be replaced or repaired good as new as long as you’re covered.

Finding a Good Water Damage Restoration Company

What’s important to remember is that the water damage restoration needs to happen fast. So as soon as you have confirmed that you are covered, your first call should be to a reputable water damage restoration company. When you’re considering which company to choose here are some things you may want to ask when you call:

  1. Are you licensed and insured?
  2. How long have you been in business?
  3. How soon can you get here and get to work?
  4. Can you do repairs or only water removal and dry out?
  5. Do you provide a warranty or guarantee?
  6. How will you work with my insurance company?

If you get the answers you like, and the water damage team is on the way, what should you expect? What is the restoration process for water damage? Here is what you can likely expect from most restoration companies.

Water Removal – Getting the Mess Cleaned Up

The water damage team will assess the damage and do their best to identify the source of the water and confirm it has stopped (at least for the time being.)

Water Type

They will also determine the type of water they are dealing with. There are 3 categories of water damage. The water type will have an impact on how they handle the removal and dry out process.

To remove the water, the restoration team will have equipment with powerful pumps to extract the water and clean up the flood water. Often these are truck mounted vacuum units that can quickly remove water from your basement. The speed of the water removal is important!

Once the water has been extracted the dry out process can begin. The restoration team will use a variety of blowers, dryers and dehumidifiers to get all the moisture out of basement including areas you can’t see. Moisture meters will be used to determine if the job is complete. If all is dry, the repairs can begin.

Getting it Fixed or Replaced

Some water damage repair companies can also do damage repair. This can very be helpful as it is normally easier to deal with 1 company vs many. Some of the repairs may include replacing walls, rebuild a water damaged interior frame, replace damaged flooring, etc. Structural repairs from water damage are typically a large part of the cost of the restoration process. Replacing damaged property such as furniture, keepsakes, carpet, electronics, etc. also can drive the estimate up. It is a good idea to itemize all damaged content so it can be reported to the insurance company.

Next Steps

Once all the damage is repaired and your basement has been restored, you should consider addressing the issue that caused the flood or leak and have a thorough inspection and assessment from a professional to ensure that your basement will stay dry. Being proactive can make a big difference, as can hiring the right company to take care of the water damage restoration.