If your home or property has flooded, damage occurs quickly, so it’s critical to address it as soon as possible. After ensuring your safety, one of the first steps is contacting your insurance company. But did you know that most insurance agencies classify water and flood damage differently? Some insurance companies even distinguish between freshwater flooding and saltwater flooding.

Floor damaged due to water leak

It’s essential to know the difference between standing water damage, saltwater flood damage, and damage from freshwater. This distinction is important not only so you can properly file an insurance claim but also because all of these need to be handled differently.

Most homeowners’ insurance won’t cover flood damage (or at least not to a reasonable extent). If you’re at high risk for flood damage, you need specific damage insurance or access to the National Flood Insurance Program.

What is the Difference Between Saltwater and Freshwater Flooding?

Everybody knows that floods often cause severe damage, but not everyone knows that not all water damage is the same. Saltwater floods do significantly more damage than freshwater floods, so for people living along a waterfront, flooding can be even more hazardous.

Saltwater is more corrosive than fresh water and can carry dangerous bacteria. It can also break down the primary materials used to build a home, like drywall and concrete. Floods along the coast are far less predictable and can happen anytime. Many things can cause a saltwater flood, including hurricanes and other natural disasters or heavy rain. 

What are the Dangers of Flood Water?

Flood damage and water damage are two very different dangers, despite their seeming similarity. But insurance companies know the differences, and you should, too. Leaky pipes, a hole in the roof, or improperly sealed windows often cause fresh water damage. On the other hand, floodwaters tend to be caused by external forces of nature. 

Since the most common forms of water damage tend to come from plumbing inside your house, it’s usually a lot cleaner than floodwaters. Flood water, particularly seawater, is far more dangerous than other types of water damage.

One of the most severe dangers of flooding is the risk it poses to your building. Saltwater is corrosive to most metals, concrete, and plaster, posing a severe threat to three of the most common building materials. It’s unlikely for your building to survive a saltwater flood without sustaining any structural damage.

Structural damage isn’t the only risk that flooding can cause. Flood water can destroy electrical systems, and loose wiring or downed power lines may charge the water. Entering standing water exposed to an electrical current can be dangerous or even fatal. If a flood cuts out the lights and you have no other way to illuminate the building, avoid going inside. There may be broken glass, sharp objects, and dangerous debris that you can’t see.

There are sanitary hazards, too. You can catch temporary illnesses or chronic diseases if exposed to contaminated water long enough.

What Should You Do if You See Flood Water?

  • If you know a flood is coming before it hits, remain calm. 
  • Listen to local authorities and evacuate when told to do so, or you may encounter safety hazards on the way out of town. 
  • Move to the highest ground around or the top level of the building.
  • Once you have reached the safest location available, stay put and wait for rescue. 
  • Hiding, moving around, or trying to fix things yourself may make it difficult for the emergency response teams to rescue you. 
  • While the flood damage to your home or business may be severe, you must prioritize your safety over property damage.

What to do After the Flood

Once you have word from local officials that it's safe to leave the shelter, you may return home. You'll feel compelled to go inside and assess the situation, but try to resist this urge for now. 

Don’t try to repair your home or business on your own — have a team of water damage repair experts come in to ensure the building is safe to enter. When a non-professional mishandles damaged property, they may end up causing additional damage. Trust the pros at AdvantaClean instead!

Water damage restoration is tedious, and you want to get it over with as soon as possible. But it’s essential to document the damage as much as possible. The more detailed the documentation is, the better your insurance will cover it. The professionals at AdvantaClean will remove the floodwater and begin the drying process. From there, we can make a more accurate assessment of the damages and will continue working until your home is restored. Talk to us today – we’re available 24/7 to help with any kind of emergency. 

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