Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., the country's seventh-largest property and casualty insurance company, strongly encourages customers to listen to the advice of local authorities and avoid flooded or treacherous areas.
If the homeowner has access to the home, the first 24 to 48 hours are crucial in preventing additional damage, according to Ken Enscoe, Nationwide's director of catastrophe claims operations.
If the homeowner has access to the home, they are encouraged to safely make temporary repairs to prevent further interior damage or loss.
While damage incurred by property owners will be unique to a particular property and will vary depending on the individual circumstances, here are some suggestions that may assist policyholders, who are able to access their property safely, in protecting their property:
- Be safe! Make sure your electric source adjacent to the damaged area is disconnected.
- Holes in roofs and broken windows should be covered with plastic or plywood and the property should be secured to prevent theft or vandalism.
- If water is flowing into the home, shut off the water supply.
- Only use an appliance designed to remove standing water, such as a wet/dry vacuum.
- To prevent the growth of bacteria and mildew, immediately place all moist content materials in a dry location.
- Separate content items, such as upholstery, fabrics or other colored items to prevent color bleeding. Blot or wipe wood furniture to remove excess moisture.
- If content items are too heavy to remove, place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and carpeting. Open furniture doors and drawers to expedite drying.
- Place large buckets or pans underneath sagging ceilings. If possible, punch small holes in sagging ceilings to relieve trapped water.
- Use fans to circulate air and assist with drying after removing standing water and establishing it is safe to reconnect electricity. In the summer months, use an air conditioner and dehumidifier if available. Keep thermostat set at or below 70 degrees—increasing the thermostat could promote growth of bacteria and mildew.
- Retain damaged items to allow for proper evaluation.
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