Floods are the most common natural disaster, affecting more homes than any other type of disaster. Floods can cause many kinds of damage. Mold is the most prominent damage following a flood, and worsens over time. Mold is a hazard to both people and property. It grows on almost any material that stays wet more than about two days. The longer mold and wetness remain, the faster it spreads. } Rising floodwater is usually contaminated with sewage (containing disease-causing bacteria), chemicals and debris. Floods deposit these contaminants, and they may be absorbed into porous materials.
Floods can shift or damage natural gas lines, which may result in fire if exposed to a flame or spark. Chemicals or salt water (in coastal floods) can cause corrosion to wiring and other metals, and ruin equipment. } Floods can cause foundations and basement walls to shift, settle or separate. This can cause structural damage to walls and floors. Rushing floodwater can cause wash-out of soil and expose foundation footings. } Wood swells when wet, so it may warp or split. Most processed wood products, such as oriented strand board (OSB) panels and particle board, lose strength or disintegrate. } In some areas, floods can result in sinkholes.
If you have flood insurance, contact your insurance adjuster immediately.
• Begin cleanup, salvage, and drying as soon as possible. Do not wait for adjuster. Take photos for use as an inventory. All steps suggested on this page can be taken before an adjuster arrives.
• Clean house so the adjuster can see the damage.
• Keep damaged materials for proof of loss.
• Leave a phone number where you can be reached when the adjuster arrives.
• The adjuster will assess damages to the house. The owner should sign a proof of loss statement. Additional damage can be added when found.
• Contact governmental offices for information.