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Sr. Public Relations Specialist, MD
O: (410) 616-1900 (ext. 4361153)
C: (443) 244-7253
Heavy rain and potential flooding are in the forecast for the region starting Today and continuing into Friday, making for a messy commute as well as raising concerns about flooding in homes.
AAA Insurance offers tips for dealing with auto and homeowners insurance coverage and claims questions in the aftermath of a flood. Additionally, the auto club offers wet weather safe driving tips.
AAA Tips on Auto Insurance Claims:
Physical damage to a car caused by flooding is covered under the optional comprehensive portion of an auto policy.
Car owners should contact their insurance company to determine the extent of coverage before seeking repairs.
Take photographs of any visible damage.
Any vehicle sustaining flood damage should be fully inspected before being allowed back on the road. Mechanical components, computer systems, engine, transmission, axles, brake system and fuel system impacted by water contamination may render the vehicle unfit to drive and in many cases vehicles sustaining significant water damage will be determined to be a total loss.
AAA Tips on Home Insurance Coverage
Water that seeps into a home from the ground up is considered flooding and would be covered by flood insurance, which is provided by the National Flood Insurance Program and a few private insurers. Flood insurance is available to both homeowners and renters. Flood damage is not covered by standard homeowners or renters insurance policies.
AAA Tips on Homeowners Insurance Claims:
The first step to recovery is inspecting your home for damage and then notifying your insurance company as soon as possible.
Prepare an inventory and take photographs of damaged property.
Store undamaged property in a protected place if possible.
If carpet is soaked, remove the carpet and the carpet pad. Keep a two-foot square piece for the claims adjuster.
Look for hazards such as broken or leaking gas lines, flooded electrical circuits, submerged furnaces or electrical appliances and damaged sewage systems.
Proceed with extreme caution as you inspect your basement. There may be hazards from electrical lines and heating units. If your basement has flooded, do not pump it out all at once. Remove about one-third of the water per day. The wet ground surrounding your basement may cause the floors to buckle and the walls to collapse.
Remove contaminated materials from the home. Be aware of exposure to mold.
Carpeting, mattresses and upholstered furniture should be disposed of or cleaned and disinfected by a professional cleaner.
Test drywall for moisture softness. If soft, cut holes at base to help dry out.
If possible run the AC, dehumidifier and fans constantly.
Open cabinet doors and elevate furniture allowing air to circulate.
Be present when the adjuster inspects your damage.
Among the services being provided by AAA Mid-Atlantic:
AAA Insurance customers who have suffered damage to their homes or autos can begin filing claims immediately. Claims representatives are ready to assist 24 hours a day. The number is (888) 222-0086. If not insured through AAA Insurance please contact your insurance provider.
AAA: Safety Tips for Wet Weather Driving
Turn Around, Don’t Drown! As little as six inches of water can cause you to lose control of your car and potentially stall your engine. Do not attempt to drive through flooded roads. Turn around; find another way to get to your destination. Pull over to a safe location if needed.
Seek higher ground. If your vehicle stalls or is suddenly caught in rising water, leave it immediately.
Never drive through standing water. Standing water can be deceiving and motorists should avoid it. No matter how shallow it may appear, water may be concealing downed power lines, may be deeper than it appears, or have significant force from flooding, etc.
Slow down, brake early and drive with greater caution and alertness. Drivers are more likely to lose control of the vehicle when roads are wet so reduce speed and keep your eyes and mind on the road. Brake early, but not hard, to allow the time needed to slow the car down.
Increase following distance. This is even more important when driving near vans, recreational vehicles and cars pulling trailers that may be adversely affected by wind.
Use the central lanes. When driving during heavy rain, use center lanes of the road (without straddling the yellow line). Avoid outside lanes where the water collects at curbside.
Watch for hydroplaning. No car is immune from hydroplaning on wet surfaces, including four-wheel drive vehicles. Even if brakes work under normal conditions that doesn’t mean they will react the same on slippery roads where tires roll with less traction. Also, turn off cruise control as it can cause hydroplaning.
Use your defroster. Keep the air inside your car dry and prevent windows from fogging by using your defroster along with your air conditioner.
Take the nearest exit. If conditions worsen to the point where there is any doubt about your safety, take the nearest exit. Don’t just stop on the shoulder or under a bridge. If your visibility is compromised, other drivers may be struggling too.
“Many motorists view rain storms as more of an inconvenience than a hazard,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, Public and Government Affairs Manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “As a result, drivers tend to be less cautious than they should be. The most important steps to take when driving in wet weather are to buckle up, slow down, and keep a safe distance from the car in front of you.”
The Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education offers more wet weather driving tips here.
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