Rosie Romero Special to the Arizona Daily Star
PQuestion: My house is flooded. What do I do?
Answer: Start with an assessment of your home and determine if it is safe to stay there. If it’s safe and all water is away from outlets or exposed wires and your roof is stable, perform these tasks in preparation for the professional repair contractor.
Call your homeowners insurance agent right away.
Remove excess water by scrubbing and wiping.
Wipe excess water from wooden furniture after removing lamps and tableware.
Remove and support damp upholstery and pillows.
Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between the furniture legs and the damp carpet.
Turn on the air conditioner for maximum drying in the summer.
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Remove colored rugs from wet carpet to prevent dye transfer.
Remove the art objects to a safe and dry place.
Pick up loose items from the floors.
Question: My house was flooded by a mountain stream. Will my comprehensive home policy cover it all?
A: According to Phocus Insurance Companies, a Rosie in the Home Certified Partner, your home insurance likely contains a water damage subsection. Many homeowners assume that all water-related damage is covered. It’s not like that. Sudden and unexpected water, such as breaking the washing machine may be covered by your insurance. If the water damage is due to negligence or a catastrophic event such as flooding, you will find yourself footing the bill.
A flood is defined as a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more hectares of normally dry land or of two or more properties (at least one of which is your property) by a flood of inland or tidal waters. unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface water from any source or mudflow.
If the flood is from the roof, you are covered. If the flood is from surface water, you are not, unless you have specific flood coverage.
Q: Will my insurance policy cover storm damage to my roof?
A: When a rain, wind or hail storm damages your roof, your insurance company will probably pay. But don’t wait for the insurance adjuster to visit and decide. Cover the roof with plastic temporarily and clean the water in the house. If the drywall is hanging from the ceiling, place some buckets on the floor and drill holes in the ceiling to release the water. This can prevent further damage to your home that may not be covered.
Q: Will my homeowner’s insurance pay to remove fallen trees?
A: When a tree falls in a storm, insurance will not pay to remove the tree unless it causes structural damage. The insurance will also not pay for the replanting of gardens, shrubs, flowers or other trees that are disturbed or damaged.
Q: How will I be paid by my insurance company for flood damage?
A: Assuming you have a flood policy, you will be paid based on the present cash value or replacement cost value.
Current cash value (ACV) is the value of the item at the time of loss, including depreciation over time. Items that are valued or regulated at ACV include appliances or carpets, where carpets have the potential to lose 10% to 14% of their value each year.
Replacement cost value (RCV) is the cost to replace the item or part of your home, not including depreciation. Three conditions must be met before an item falls under RCV guidelines.
The building must be a single-family dwelling.
The building must be your main address at the time of the loss (meaning you lived there at least 80% of the year.)
Your building coverage is at least 80% of the building’s replacement cost or the maximum available property value under the National Flood Insurance Program.
A standard flood insurance policy, known as a single peril (flood) policy, pays for direct physical damage to the insured property up to the replacement cost, the present cash value of the damages, or the policy’s limit of liability, whichever be smaller. Flood insurance is also not a rated policy. Additionally, flood insurance is not considered a guaranteed replacement cost policy.
It is important to know your home’s hazards. Meet with a qualified insurance agent and access your coverage before you need it. Many people assume they know their coverage, only to find out they were wrong when they need it. Make sure your home is covered against water damage in all situations. Don’t wait to find out during an emergency.
A comprehensive list of items covered in your property insurance against flood insurance can be found at floodsmart.gov.
Regardless of the type of policy you have in place, call your agent as soon as damage occurs. Have the professionals enter the property as soon as possible. There are very specific and important steps that need to be taken, and the sooner they are, the better for everyone, especially you.
An expert in the home building and remodeling industry in Arizona since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the Saturday morning syndicated show Rosie on House Radio, heard locally from 10 to 11 a.m. on KNST (790-AM) in Tucson and from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KGVY (1080-AM) and (100.7-FM) in Green Valley.