Face flooding damage from Irma? Here’s 5 steps to take before filing an insurance claim

WHITEMARSH ISLAND, Ga. – While many escaped unscathed from Hurricane Irma, their nightmare was far from over.

Chris Yarbrough evacuated his family to Athens, Georgia during the storm.

When he came back he found out his home had been flooded by more than a foot of water thanks to a strong storm surge on Monday afternoon.

He said he and his family prepared their Whitemarsh Island home for the storm with boarded up windows and sandbags but didn’t expect to lose the first floor of their home.

On Wednesday Yarbrough brought in a crew that worked all days striping down the floor of its damp floods, walls, decorations, and cabinetry.

“So all our furniture all our clothes we had down low, everything down low, was wet,” he recalled.

Yarbrough knew the clock for saving his home was ticking.

“They say the quicker you go the better,” Yarbrough said.

According to FEMA, mold can start to grow and colonize within the first 24 hours of a porous surface becoming wet.

While Yarbrough does have flood insurance he also knew he needed to act fast for health reasons to contain mold in the house when he has a young daughter.

“The key is to get everything out, get everything exposed as quickly as possible and get the fans. We don’t have power yet, but, when we do, we’ll get the fans going,” he said.

FEMA recommends if you have flood insurance and are looking to file a claim or have a claim adjuster visit to follow a few guidelines.

  • Make sure the home is safe to enter before starting to tear anything up
  • Take as many pictures and videos of items and their serial numbers as possible. This can provide crucial information for an inspection.
  • If you choose to do demolition on your own, make sure to wear a mask, gloves and use a diluted bleach solution.
  • If you are unsure how to tear down walls, flooring or any sort of task you are encouraged to see professional help.
  • When it doubt, throw it out. Even if an item seems dry, there still may be leftover moisture causing a new breeding ground for mold.

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