When a church property is affected by a major flood, it’s important to act fast. If you wait too long to take the necessary steps, you could risk making the damage worse, complicating your insurance claim, or missing out on important insurance coverage entirely. Even though it can be hard to find the time to work through all the challenges of cleaning up a flooded property and submitting an insurance claim, especially when you have a community to attend to, the whole process of recovery can be a lot easier in the long run if you take a few simple steps now.
Protect Your Church From Further Damage as Soon as You Can Safely Do So
As soon as you are safely able to, you should start taking steps to deal with the damage to your church and set plans for recovery. To help you get started, here are five of the most important steps you can take to protect your church after a flooding event:
- Document damaged property. Before you move or change anything on the property, it can be helpful to first take photographs and write down a short account of everything that was damaged. This record can help you remember exactly how the property looked after the flooding, and it can help show the insurance adjuster the original condition of the property before any repairs were made.
- Make temporary repairs. Although permanent repairs may need to wait until your insurance claim has resolved, it may be necessary to make temporary repairs to keep damage from getting worse over time. This might mean stopping leaks, covering broken windows, or securing damaged areas until they can be repaired. Make sure that you thoroughly document any repairs and save any receipts.
- Remove items from flooded rooms. In an emergency flooding situation, it can be surprisingly easy to overlook this simple step. Items that are wet or in standing water should be moved to higher or drier ground, including furniture, electronics, files, etc. If possible, nothing should be left sitting on a wet floor. Having everything out of the way makes it easier to clean the room and dry it out. However, don’t throw away flood-damaged items, carpet, or other materials until the insurance company representative has seen it or confirmed that she won’t need to.
- Prevent mold. Although clearing soggy items out of a room can help, there is still a lot to be done to prevent mold. Remember that it may take some time for your flood insurance claim to resolve, and it’s possible that your church property may not be repaired for months—or even longer. Getting everything cleaned up and dried out is an obvious priority, and it’s often worth talking with experienced professionals about mold control and removal in your specific situation.
- Notify your flood insurance company. If the damage to your church property is covered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or another insurance policy, you will want to make sure that you’re fulfilling your duties as a policyholder at the same time you’re cleaning up. Although you have some time to submit an insurance claim for flood damage, you should still let your flood insurance provider know what happened as soon as possible. You are generally required to notify the company of a loss within a very short period of time after the event. This can also be a good time to ask any questions you have about what the insurance company expects and how to open a claim when you’re ready.
Church insurance coverage is often unique to the specific property covered, and the problems that arise in church insurance claims can be, too. If you have questions about how your church’s insurer is handling a flood claim, don’t wait any longer to get answers. Contact the Voss Law Firm today at 1-888-614-7730 to review your questions with an experienced policyholder attorney.