As I was out of town when the basement flooded, the first thing I did was call our homeowner’s insurance which was Allstate at that time. The woman who answered was super friendly and said I don’t need to worry and should do whatever I could to clean up the basement now so that I won’t have bigger expenses down the road.
Being naive, I assumed I would just need to have someone pull up our carpet, clean it, and then put it back down. No big deal, right? I was far from right. During my 8 hour drive home, I looked up carpet cleaning services and also checked a variety of search terms related to emergency basement cleanup services. Many of the companies didn’t even return my calls, probably because they were swamped with business at that moment. A few who did respond said they couldn’t guarantee when they could make it out. One very professional company said they were very backed up with calls, but would have someone out the next day.
When I finally got home the heavy rains had stopped. I went down to the basement to find a very slushy carpet. There wasn’t any standing water above the carpet level, but it was clear that the lower levels of the walls had been wet. As I looked in the basement, I realized there wasn’t really anything I could do myself to dry things up.
The next morning, a crew of about 4 guys showed up from the company I contacted. They were very professional and clearly had experience doing this sort of work. They came in and started to pull up the carpeting. They said that it would not be worth saving the carpet, even though it was less than a month old. They also said that the back of the carpet was falling apart so they probably couldn’t have saved it even if I wanted. They made quick work of removing the carpet and drying up the floor.
They said that the baseboards needed to be removed and holes made in the walls to speed the drying process of the drywall. They removed each section of baseboards and labeled them with a number, matching a number they wrote on the drywall to make it easy to replace them where they belong. The guy used a hammer to punch holes in the drywall behind where the baseboard would be. This was a smart and quick way to make those holes as there was not reason to be precise with a large drill. They said that with water coming from the outside, it is considered dirty water and they recommended we remove the bottom 18 inches of the wall to prevent future mold formation. They also recommended we remove the doors as the bottoms had gotten wet. I opted against that as I was getting a sense that the cost was becoming quite high. For some reason, I also was worried that ultimately the insurance was not going to fully cover everything. We decided we would see if things dried appropriately before removing all of the drywall, replacing and repainting as that was a much bigger job than I wanted to worry about.
They also then brought in about 10 fans and a giant dehumidifier and they said they should all run for about 3 days. They set the fans up to basically circulate the air around the basement in a circle.
When all was said and done, the company charged just over $3000 for all of their work and the cost to “rent” the fans and dehumidifier. We then had to hire someone else to come in a replace our flooring and baseboards.
Allstate then told us that they’d be sending out an adjuster to evaluate our basement. They said someone was coming from out of state to review since there were so many claims from the heavy rains. The adjuster came out after a few weeks and after 10 minutes told me that our insurance does not cover flood water that comes in through window wells. I told him that some of the flood water must have come from the sump pit overflowing, but he said it didn’t matter. He said that the marks on the wall by the window wells and the marks on the windows themselves showed him that flood water came in from the window wells. Therefore – not covered. Homeowners insurance does not cover flooding from outside water. Period.
Basement flooding sucks. Big time. As if I didn’t have enough financial concerns with recently buying a new home and spending all of the money to finish the basement in the first place. Ugh. Double ugh.