South Florida saw some of the worst flooding in years this week. And while much of the water has receded, the heavy rain over several days left damage in its wake.
Perhaps your roof is leaking. Or your floors are soaked from the lake on your street. Or maybe your car’s interior or engine got wet.
Here are some tips to deal with the damage:
Help, there’s water in my car. Can I drive it?
No, don’t start the car if it’s been sitting in running water. If the water level is high, push it out or get it towed. Turning on the car could damage the engine and cause further problems, according to an AutoZone guide.
Disconnect the battery to protect yourself from electric shock while checking the rest of the car. The oil, fuel, air and electrical systems may need work if water entered them. Most comprehensive auto insurance plans provide coverage for flood damage.
My roof leaked and water entered through the floors. What insurance do I call?
Before making repairs, take photos of the damage. Protection may be necessary because floodwater can contain toxic substances.
Most homeowner insurance plans cover damage from a roof leak, but flood insurance is needed to help with damage from water entering from the doors, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Investing in flood insurance can protect homeowners from financial strain down the line.
“Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States, affecting every region and state,” according to FEMA. “Floods can cause physical and emotional anguish, as well as financial devastation.”
An example of what could happen: The American Red Cross said it coordinated emergency aid for more than 60 families impacted by this week’s flooding, 39 of whom were in a Miami mobile home community.
Most apartment renters’ insurance policies require separate insurance for damage caused by natural disaster.
The street is flooded. Can my kids play in it?
Walking through floodwater is not advisable because debris, sharp objects and electrical wires can hide underneath. The water may be deeper than it looks, posing danger to pedestrians and drivers.
“It is never a good idea to walk or drive into flooded areas,” said Erika Benitez, a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokeswoman.