If you have a flooded basement due to a storm or plumbing issue, handle it as quickly as you can. Failing to do so can leave your home permanently damaged and even create health issues.

Damage restoration accounts for a $4 billion industry in the United States. This means there are plenty of pros you can work with that will make your basement look as good as new while protecting your home property values.

If you’re not sure what steps to take, the points below are useful when your basement floods and you need some help.

Be Mindful of Hazards

Safety first. There are plenty of potential hazards at play when you’re dealing with basement flooding.

Water and electricity don’t mix, so exercise caution before stepping into your basement and exploring the damage. Exposed wires and electrical components can cause electric shock, which can be fatal or damaging to your internal organs.

Access your circuit breaker and cut off electricity in your basement and throughout your house before exploring. Grab a flashlight and check around, and avoid trip hazards and any other issues that can cause injury.

Control the Flooding and Get Rid of Water

Next, you’ll need to control the basement flood to the best of your ability. If water is still rushing in, find the source and see if you can prevent it from flowing in any further. When it’s a plumbing issue, you can cut off the water main so that you can nip it in the bud.

Grab some buckets or rent a hydro-vac so that you can get rid of as much standing water as possible. Time is of the essence for a basement flood, since damage becomes more devastating the longer you allow standing water to go unchecked. The longer water is allowed to seep in, the more it can cause rot, mold, and mildew.

You may also want to use a heavy duty industrial dehumidifier to make sure no mold can grow. Mold can lead to health issues that damage your respiratory system and worsen allergies and asthma. A flood restoration pro will help you dry out your basement further, but the more you can control prior to their arrival, the better chance you have of minimizing any issues.

Document the Damage

It’s important to file a claim for the basement flood damage. Before you can do that, you need to document it. Grab your cell phone and take as many photos and videos as you can of the incident.

Be sure to highly the worst areas of damage, and take pictures and videos of the floor, walls, and any furniture or fixtures that were affected. Keep copies of this media in the cloud so that you can send them to your contractor and your insurance provider.

Save What You Can

Your basement doesn’t have to be a total loss if you act quickly. Remove any furniture, set it aside, and begin drying it out. Your basement flood cleanup expenses will be cheaper the more you’re able to save belongings.

Take inventory of every item that you remove so that you can add it to the insurance claim. From there, you may need to get estimates from furniture restoration experts that can provide reupholstery and remediation to prevent rot.

Get Your Insurance Company on the Phone

Start the claims process with your insurance company as quickly as you can. This may involve a phone call, or simply logging into the app and uploading your evidence with a description of the incident.

Your insurance company will get an agent on your case, and can also refer you to some flood damage restoration pros in your area. You’re not obligated to hire the professionals that they refer you to, but choosing their preferred professionals might expedite the claims process.

Seek Restoration Estimates

Get three to five different flood damage estimates before choosing a company. In many cases, this cleanup and restoration can cost between $500 and $1,500 for minor damage, and between $2,000 and $10,000 or more on the high end.

Getting multiple estimates will let you know the going rate for the damage your basement sustained, so you feel comfortable budgeting for what you need. Stay in touch with the insurance provider so you know how much they’ll cover and whether or not this is money that you’ll be paying out of pocket.

Also, check out the experience and credibility of the company you’re considering hiring. Look into their Better Business Bureau (BBB) score, and seek references from people you know who have gotten flood damage restoration in the past.

Schedule Basement Restoration Service

After signing off on the estimate, you can read through the contract and have your basement restoration pro begin service. They’ll advise you on an estimated time of completion, and whether you’ll need to make other living arrangements in the meantime.

If so, consult with your insurance company to see if they provide temporary housing. In the meantime, you can also work on replacing or restoring your personal belongings. Itemize your furniture and other items and add them to the claim so that the insurance company can compensate you.

Have the professional provide basement waterproofing or sealing so that it’s protected from any future flooding.

Responding to Basement Floods

The tips above will help you out when your basement floods and you need some help. It’s especially important that you know these protocols if you live in a flood zone or an area that is prone to flooding.

The sooner you jump on this issue, the sooner you can get your basement cleaned and restored to its prior condition.

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