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Homeowners Insurance

Understanding the Damage Floodwater Can Do to Your Home

It may seem obvious to anyone who’s lived in Florida for any length of time, but flooding can cause extensive damage throughout your home. A single flood event could have significant financial, health, and emotional implications for you and your family.


After all, 1 inch of water in your home can cause a whopping $25,000 in damages, according to the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) website. Of course, the bigger your home, the more extensive the damage and more costly the repair. Should 1 foot of water enter the home – picture it being just about calf-deep – the damage and repair costs are likely to be astronomical.


Let's break down the types of damage commonly seen with home flooding.


Structural Damage

Flooding can weaken the integrity of your walls, floors, foundation, and more. If the water seeps into your walls and floors, you may notice them swell, warp, or crack. Drywall, especially, absorbs water well and can easily become stained and begin to rot once wet. Flooring may become loose and buckle. Objects and debris carried in the floodwaters can bump into doors, walls, and more, causing additional damage. If the water outside washes away soil and exerts pressure on the foundation of your home, it can threaten the very structure of your home.


Mold & Mildew

Mold is a type of fungus you can find almost anywhere moisture and oxygen are present. It consumes organic matter and spreads via microscopic airborne spores. Mold and mildew growth after home flooding is serious because mold colonies can begin to grow on damp surfaces within 24-48 hours.


To prevent the growth of mold and mildew after a flood event requires immediate action (if it’s safe to do so) to disinfect and dry everything wet – especially porous surfaces, such as wallpaper, carpeting, upholstered furniture, drywall, grout, insulation, and anything made of wood, paper, or fabric. Mold in the grout between your tiles is particularly insidious because it can spread under your tile flooring.


Whatever can’t be disinfected and dried thoroughly should be tossed, including furniture, carpeting, rugs, etc. Mold spores remaining in the home can spread, potentially damaging walls, floors, ceilings, personal property in the home, as well as harming your health.


Electrical Hazards

Damage to electrical systems and appliances are common after home flooding. Floodwater can corrode and contaminate both exposed and hidden electrical wiring in the home. It is not uncommon to discover broken or frayed electrical wires in the aftermath of a flood.


Short circuits, electrocution, and fire are very real threats once the power is turned back on. Any electrical device submerged in water during the flood may malfunction, fail, or cause an electrical shock or fire when turned on again.


Depending on how much water entered the home, your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system may also be affected, along with various plumbing fixtures and pipes.


Loss of Personal Belongings

Home flooding can destroy many of your personal possessions, including priceless sentimental objects such as photographs and family heirlooms. For many of these items, there is simply no way to replace them, and the loss can be emotionally devastating. Water can also ruin many items you use on a daily basis, including furniture, electronics, clothing, and more. It can be enormously expensive to replace these possessions.


Health Risks

Flooding often carries random hazardous waste before it enters your home. This means the water in your home may contain sewage, animal feces, toxic chemicals, bacteria, viruses, and other dangerous substances. This contamination can pose serious health risks, including long-term health issues.


In addition, flooding may include the risk of electrocution and fire, threatening your safety in the immediate aftermath of the flood. Mold and mildew growth is another major health concern, especially for those with respiratory issues, allergies, or who are immunocompromised.


Disruption / Displacement

Flooding may require an extensive cleanup and repair period. It may also render your home uninhabitable or unsafe – meaning you’ll have to find temporary accommodations until it’s safe to return. Whether you leave or remain in the home, flooding is especially disruptive for everyone in the household. It can cause much  psychological distress, including increased stress, anxiety, and strained relationships. For children, this could show up as acting out and nightmares. In addition to all the uncertainty and chaos after home flooding, property values in your area could take a hit, as well.


Flood Insurance Is a Must-Have in Florida

Nobody wants to deal with home flooding or its cleanup afterward. Arranging for all the cleanup and any needed repairs after a flood can be daunting. It’s perhaps the biggest reason to get flood insurance, in addition to your homeowners insurance.


At The Windward Insurance Agency, our team of insurance professionals understand the unique risks of being a Florida homeowner – including the very real risk of flooding. We can help you get the coverage you need. To get started, get an online quote now or call us at (866) 231-2433 for assistance.