ORANGE COUNTY, New York (WABC) -- With all of the flood damage, many homeowners and car owners are wondering what to do next.
7 On Your Side has time-sensitive tips and says the next 24 hours are critical.
The first thing to do if you haven't contacted your insurance carrier yet is to do it right away -- there will be a waiting list for an adjustor to get out to you. And document damage with pictures and video.
Reps from flood-damaged counties say they are trying to qualify for federal and state assistance for homeowners. If that aid comes through, you'll want proof of losses.
Many storm survivors are busy flooding Facebook with videos showing the height of the floodwaters ravaging everything its path. But to recover from the disaster, it's more important to document damage before and after the water recedes.
Don't just take photos, walk room to room in your home and around your car when you can safely get to it. And take video, narrating exactly what you are seeing that is waterlogged and destroyed so you can prove losses.
If you don't have receipts for big ticket items like TVs and furniture, check your online order history, or emailed receipts which will show the purchase price for household items. Documenting inventory will be paramount for any claim.
One flood victim said she didn't think in a million years she would need flood insurance for a home in the town she grew up in which has never flooded. She's hoping FEMA disaster relief will help.
Most homeowner's policies don't cover flood damage -- but public adjusters advise don't assume it.
"Before you say the wrong things to an insurance company, you want to know the source of the water, just saying you had a flood, you want to know where did the water come from," said Philip Maltaghati with United Public Adjustors
For example, Phil says if your sump pump failed or if a tree hit your home causing water damage, you could be covered.
"And we are also getting seepage claims, water is coming in through the roof and destroying everything in its sight," he said.
As for flooded out cars, if you have comprehensive, you're covered.
A couple tips: don't attempt to start a flooded car. If there's water in the engine, you could cause more damage. Use a wet/dry vac to remove any standing water.
FEMA disaster assistance only kicks in if there's a federal disaster declared and so far that hasn't happened. You can also check with your county and inquire if it is offering any assistance.
The big takeaways are:
-For the first 24 hours after the flood, turn off water and power
-Check for structural damage and if needed contact utilities
-Remove water and use fans to dry out your home to mitigate mold
-And if you've been flooded out of your home, secure your property
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