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How to protect your valuables during a basement flood

Protect Your Valuables During A Basement Flood

How to protect your valuables during a basement flood


Tips on Flood Proofing Cherished Valuables

Few things bring Fathers and sons together more than sharing common interest. Fishing together, interest in cars and collecting sports memorabilia can make lasting memories and unbreakable bonds that will be cherished a life time. If you have valued collector’s items in your home it is important to make sure you include such articles on your homeowners insurance to protect valuables from a flooded basement.

What about collectors of stamps, dolls, board games, pictures, action figures and others cherished items? Most insurance carriers require specific policies to cover loss to many of the items homeowners believe are covered, but are not.

Many times collectibles are stored in a basement but not out of reach of rising water that can enter a basement from a failed sump pump, sewer backup or broken pipe. It just takes a bit of creativity and easily purchased items to protect valuables from a flooded basement. 

Protecting Valued Objects From A Flooded Basement

When property owners descend their flight of stairs to discover water in the basement it is natural to be in disbelief and have your stomach stricken with anxiety. However, if you have taken steps to protect valuables from flood damage you may be much more capable of managing the unwanted stress of the moment.

Knowing your wedding photos are safe from a sewer backup or that your fathers stamp collection is still unscathed is a feeling that is beyond description. Finding these same items completely destroyed by water damage is equally a feeling beyond description. So whether you live in a flood zone or perhaps your home is older with a drain system susceptible to backing up, here are a few tips that might be very helpful in protecting your valuables from a basement flood.

5 Tips on Protecting Valuable from Basement Flooding

1. Seal all Electronics in Plastic

Water can permanently destroy electrical components, but there is a way of protecting your sensitive electronic equipment from flooding, that makes them almost impervious to water.

  • WRAP THEM IN PLASTIC AND TAPE SEAMS. We recommend 3ml plastic and packaging tape which can be purchased at your local hardware store. Before wrapping each component, remove the battery to store in its own protective plastic parcel. This will insure to eliminate any overheating of systems as well as preserve the life of the battery. It shouldn’t require a great expenditure of your time to wrap each item in plastic and secure all seams with ample packaging tape, but the rewards are endless if you are wanting to protect your valuable from a basement flood.
  • RELOCATE ELECTRONICS TO AN ELEVATED PLACE. In the event of a flooded basement having your electronics lifted from off the floor will keep them safe in most instances. In rare flood damage scenarios where water rises several feet or water deluges down from above, having electronics carefully sealed in plastic will keep them safe from water.
  • PLASTIC TOTES FOR LARGER ELECTRONICS. Computers, cameras, game consoles, small televisions and any other electronic device should be placed in plastic 20 gallon totes and sealed airtight with plastic wrap. These totes can be lifted off the ground with blocks, bricks, or placed on shelving or table tops. Even if water damage is unavoidable, the effort you take can have a positive return on your investment of time. 

2. Secure all Documents

Wedding photos, receipts, deeds, wills, birth certificates and other important documents are quickly destroyed  in water. If the source of the water is sewage from a floor drain than such cellulose materials are almost impossible to safely restore. There is a way to protect these irreplaceable valuables allowing you to avoid countless hours trying to restore or replace them. 

  • SCAN ALL DOCUMENTS AND STORE ON CLOUD OR HARD DRIVE. There are products called receipt scanners that allow you to scan and permanently store on multiple drives important documents. Even in the event of a fire these important documents can be replaced with a printer. Water damage to documents can often be permanent, so scanning them electronically protects them in perpetuity so even the next generation has access to them.
  • WATERPROOF DOCUMENTS WITH A LAMINATING MACHINE. Another way to protect valuable documents during a basement flood or any type water damage scenario is using a laminating machine. Office supply stores are a great place to purchase one and permanently seal and store documents. Individuals who have lost items from a basement flood will almost always agree  the greatest loss is important and irreplaceable documents. Furniture, appliances and even clothes can be replaced, but that impromptu photo of a child’s first steps are priceless. 
  • INVEST IN A WATERPROOF SAFE. These devices are invaluable should one day you step into a flooded basement after a heavy rain or drain backup. Anything placed in a waterproof safe will survive any type of water damage and be perhaps the only silver lining to discovering water in your basement. It is recommended to purchase a safe that is both waterproof and fireproof in the event that documents are at risk. These safes are capable of precluding destruction of priceless documents that may not otherwise be saved.

3. Relocate, Remove or Cover Furniture

In some instances you may be able to remove furniture from a flooded basement to have cleaned, restored or preserved from more damage. A garage during the warmer months may prove an ideal area if their is room. If not an upstairs room may serve as well to temporarily storage furniture, until the flood cleanup and drying is complete. Be sure to take pictures of all damages before relocating to a safe space, as insurance adjusters will require documentation that such items were directly affected from water damage.

 If the flooding is a result of a broken water pipe or burst water heater, act swiftly to shut the water off and move furniture from the footprint affected by flooding. This single act can protect the legs and wood bases of your furniture keeping them preserved from any damage. If the furniture is soaked and beyond salvaging such as water from above, it is still good to move it out of the way and/or the basement completely. Leaving it saturated in the drying chamber to structurally dry the basement will only add additional moisture to the air, resulting in stalling a prompt dry down.

If you end up getting professional help for water damage, they should be documenting the damages and advocating for new furniture. Most insurance policies that cover the water damage often allow for furniture replacement when it is badly damaged and documented correctly.

4. Move Smaller Items Out of the Damage Zone

Before a restoration company even steps foot into your home, determine what smaller items of value are non-affected and can be removed to the upstairs. This means if you have firearms, jewelry, money, stamp collection and other valuables, they should be removed and taken upstairs to a safe place.

This protects you as well as the restoration firm providing service. Imaging two weeks after the flood cleanup, you may have innocently misplaced an expensive piece of jewelry. The first thought in your head may be, “I recently had strangers in the home.” They may have been as honest as Abe and virtuous as the good Samaritan, but if you left them in the basement where they worked, you may be tempted to accuse. It protects all involved for you to secure such items if they do not need to be documented in the water loss. Protecting your valuable during a basement flood by removing them altogether may also protect the innocent from accusation. That is a definite win-win for both parties involved.

5. Elevate Furniture and other Items

Finished basements are often fully equipped with a pool table, gaming machines, and decorative furniture. These often expensive luxury items can easily be permanently damaged in a basement flood. Elevating these items can be the only way to keep them safe from becoming a casualty of flood damage.

LIGHTER PIECES OF FURNITURE should be lifted with bricks, blocks, Styrofoam or other suitable materials for elevating. Sofas and chairs should be rather easy to lift from the flooding footprint and all professional restoration firms will have gear to do just that.

HEAVY PIECES REQUIRE SUITABLE PERSONNEL. Don’t attempt to lift heavier objects than you can without injury. Often other occupants or even an able bodied neighbor may be able to assist. There is a good technique for 2 capable individuals to protect heavier valuables and elevate them as a team.

One person carefully using their bodyweight tilts the item enough for the other to place the selected blocking material underneath the base so it will remain elevated. Carefully do this with each leg or base side till you have it firmly secure on the blocks. This is only a temporary fix so be sure to keep children away in the unlikely event the item decides to fall over.


Does Insurance Protect Valuable During a Basement Flood?

Are your valuables covered in the event of a water damage emergency? Is your basement covered if it floods from a sewer backup or failed sump pump? These are questions that only your homeowners policy can answer. However, the policies are purposely vague making it difficult to understand and requires an adjuster to interpret.

BEWARE TRUSTING THE INSURANCE COMPANY IF YOU HERE THERE IS NO COVERAGE.  While it is noble to assume people are generally honest you don’t want to be lied to. If there is coverage that will protect your valuables from a basement flood, you need to know the truth. The American Association for Justice (AAJ) has concluded the top 3 insurance companies are not honest at all. Through court depositions, former employees and whistle blowers it was determined that from the top down. they were dishonest. Employees were told to lie, forge signatures, hide documents and deny claims they knew were legitimately covered losses.

If your insurance adjuster is honest you should get the correct answer right away. If for any reason you are denied coverage there are 3 things you must do, that can identify dishonesty, placing pressure on them to change their tactic. Using these 3 recommendations may turn a NO! into a YES!

  1. Demand in writing why they are denying the claim.
  2. Let them know you are having all documents reviewed by an attorney that specializes in insurance claims.
  3. Demand in writing the type of policy they should have had to protect your valuable during a flooded basement.

These 3 steps place legal pressure on them to give you the truthful answer. It is unfortunate that ones has to resort to being suspicious of their insurance carrier. That is until you read the concluding thoughts from the AAJ. They concluded that these giant corporations were obligated first to the shareholders, not policy holders.

Valuables Being Damaged in a Basement Flood Can Be Unavoidable

When water damage happens it is often when occupants are away and ultimately come home to the unthinkable. Water ran or has backed up for hours and there are several inches of deep, germ infested water everywhere. Depending on the source of the water intrusion determines if the water loss is covered or not. 

If your home or business is has water damage from a sewage backup, broken water pipe or any other water related issue, call the professionals at Action Extraction restoration in Macomb Michigan. We have the skills to help determine if you valuables are protected by insurance coverage and have all the resources to quickly restore your property.

We routinely arrive in homes where a basement flood has done the unthinkable and correct answers are needed. We have seen it all from water dripping as rain from ceilings, sofas completely submerged in water and electrical systems sparking and shorting out.

This is the environment where Action Extraction shines brightly. We know how to protect valuable during a basement flood and have managed thousands of restoration projects for over 30 years. 

Call today and we can help you get back to life as usual.  That’s why we are addressing this topic of protecting your valuables during a basement flood. The above tips can help you prevent damage in the future. But if you need help now, call us today.

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