How to Navigate a Flooded Apartment
No one wants to deal with a flooded apartment. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes unavoidable. Knowing what to do if such an incident happens is important.
You’ll hopefully never have to use these tips. That said, if your apartment ever does flood, keep the following points in mind.
Protect Yourself First
This point actually has more to do with preparing for a flood. The whole experience will be a lot less stressful if you’re prepared with renters insurance.
If your apartment floods, renters insurance might cover it. Most plans are very affordable, costing about the same as a few cups of coffee per month.
It’s also important to look for early warning signs. Identify them, and you may be able to prevent a flood.
Regularly check plumbing appliances for signs of leaks. After rain, check for leaking surfaces. Alert the landlord as soon as you spot a problem.
Protect Belongings During the Flood
Obviously, during a major weather-related flood, you need to get to a safe place.
Not all apartment floods are major, though. Some result from internal plumbing issues. During minor flooding, get valuable items away from the water as soon as possible. You might even prepare ahead of time by finding a place nearby where you could store your belongings in case of a flood. Perhaps a friendly neighbor would let you keep your valuables in their apartment should the need ever arise.
Once you’ve secured your belongings, alert the landlord. You might be able to stop the leak yourself as you wait for them to send a professional. However, if the flooding is substantial, don’t go into the apartment until the utility company has disconnected the electricity.
Addressing Post-Flood Damage
The process of handling the aftermath of an apartment flood will vary on a case-by-case basis. Different regions simply have different laws and regulations.
In general, though, your landlord’s insurance will only cover the building itself and any features of the apartment they provided. It will not cover your personal belongings if they are damaged in a flood.
True, there are circumstances in which the landlord may be found liable. Perhaps the flood resulted from an issue you had previously informed them about. If they failed to address it in a timely manner despite numerous reminders, they might be responsible for covering damage to your belongings.
That said, this usually isn’t the case. This is another reason to have renters insurance. You’ll avoid dire financial circumstances if you have a policy. Renters insurance could also help with relocation costs if flooding makes the apartment uninhabitable.
Depending on the degree of damage and the cause of the flood, you might be able to terminate your lease without any repercussions. Some landlords are also willing to let tenants relocate to similar units within their properties.
Investigate your options immediately after a flood. Again, the specific laws that apply vary from one region to another. Protect yourself ahead of time with renters insurance, and you could avoid a lot of headaches if the applicable laws don’t favor tenants in these situations.
Guest Contributor, Armand Levitz